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MEMOIRS 



BY 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 



VOL. HL 



* 



MEMOIRS 

OF 

/ 

MY OWN TIMES. 

BY 

GEJyERAL MMES WILKTJTSOJT. 



— — — Remember that the ways of Heaven, 

Though dark, are just: that oft some guardian power.. 

Attends unseen, to save the innocent ! 

But if high Heaven decrees our fall — O let us 

Firmly await the stroke ; preparec^ alike' 

To live or die. 

Brown's BABBAjiossi. 

For patriots still must fall for statesnr.e.i's safe :y, 
And perish by the country they preserve. 

Savass. 



/JV THREE VOLUMES. 
VOL. III. 



PHILADELPHIA: 

PRINTED BY ABRAHAM SMAIX. 
1816. 



\^si (^ 



MEMOIRS 



BY 



GENERAL WILKINSON 



CHAPTER L 



Exordium. — General Order for holding a general court CHAP. 
martial for the trial of Major-general Wilkinson f at ^' 
Uiica. — Supplementary ditto, and second stLpplementary 
ditto. — Constitution of the court. — Mjournmerit of the 
court and removal to Troy. — Appearance of M. Van Beu- 
ren esq. with a warrant from the War Department, as 
special Judge Advocate. — General Wilkinson's exception 
to his agency. — Mr. Van Bcuren's reply.— The Judge 
Advocate supports Mr. Van Beuren's pretensions. — The 
decision of the court, excluding Mr. Van Beuren. — Ar- 
rangement. — Charges,— General Wilkinson objects to plead 
on account of the alterations made in the original charges. 
— The court decides against him. — Pleads not guilty. 
— Court adjourned at the instance of the Judge Advo- 
cate. — General Wilkinson applies for certain official pa- 
pers. — Judge Advocate objects thereto. — Decision of the 
court. — General Wilkinson remonstrates against the con- 
duct of the Judge Advocate, and opposes a further ad- 
joiirnmerd of the court. — Court decides on the necessity of 
proceeding, and orders the Judge Advocate to conform to 
tlie law on the siihject of absent witnesses. — The Judge 
Advocate's affidavit. — General Wilkinson applies for cer- 
tain orders issued by General Armstrong, secretary of 
vol. III. A 




S MEMOIRS BY 

rvar. — Judge Mvocate objects to their production. — He 
obtains another adjournment, on account of the alleged 
absence of material witnesses. 

This volume will display, to the reader, the closing 
scenes of my persecutions, contrived by a remorseless 
Exordium, niinjster, to prop his sinking popularity, and support his 
pretensions to the Presidential chair j the secretary was 
hated by the President, yet to cross the vindictive pur- 
poses, of a man impatient of power, would have produced 
discord in the cabinet, which is to be avoided at any sa- 
crifice, of men, or principles ; this motive concurring, 
with the well known subserviency, of President Madison, 
to Secretary Armstrong, prevailed over a sense of jus- 
tice and public duty. He abandoned the high, and so- 
lemn obligations of official trust, conferred on him by his 
fellow-citizens ; and sooner than oppose his authority, to 
tlie tyranny and improvidence of the minister, with un- 
pardonable apathy, he consented to the destruction of a 
faithful public officer, grown grey in tlie service, and 
permitted tlie conflagration of the national capitol, with- 
out a struggle, ^/lis coronat opus I 

The proceedings which took place, in that wanton and 
scandalous attack, upon my military conduct and private 
character, will be recorded as they occurred ; with notes 
explanatory, to elucidate the subject, and tlie correction 
of such obvious errors and omissions, as appear on the 
face of the copy in my possession. 

Proceedings of a General Court Martial, convened at York 
House, in the village of Utica, and state of A''ew Fork, 
hy virtue of the following General, and Supplementary 
Orders, issued from the Department of war. 

GENERAL ORDERS. 

General " Adjutant Sf Inspector General's Office, 

OJ-der ap- Washin3;ton, ISth JVor. 1814. 

pointing a '^ 

court mar- a A general court martial, for tlie trial of Major-gene- 
^**' ral James Wilkinson, will assemble, at some suitable 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 2 

place in the village of Utica, and state of New York, on CHAP. 
the 3d of January next. Vi^~«'"V^ 

« The court will be composed as follows : 

President. 
Major-general H. Dearborn. 

Members. 
Major-general M. Lewis, 
Major-general George Izard, 
Brig. Gen. J. Bloonifield, 
Brig. Gen. J. P. Boyd, 
Brig. Gen. D. Bissel, 
Brig. Gen. E. W. Ripley, 
Col. J. Simonds, 5th inf. 
Col. P. P. Schuyler, 13th inf. 
Col. R. Purdy, 4th inf. 
Col. J. Kingsbury, 1st inf. 
Col. Jas. Burn, light dragoons. 
Col. D. Brearly, 15th inf. 

Supernumeraries. 
Col. Denny M'Cobb, 45th inf. 
Col. George M'Feely, 25th inf. 
Lieut. Col. William S. Talmadge, 46tb inf. 

Evert A. Bancker — <.^rmy Judge Advocate. 

a By order of the secretary of war. 

« JOHN R. BELL, Insp. Gen.'' 

First Supplementary GENERAL ORDER. 

« Mjutant (^ Inspector General's Office. Supple. 
JVovember 25thf 1814. General 

« Brigadier-general Moses Porter, is detailed as a ^^'^®*'- 
member of the general coiirt martial, for the trial of 



MEMOIRS BY 




Major-general Wilkinson, in lieu of Major-general 
Izard,* who will remain in command of the army, near 
Buffaloe. 

« By order of the secretary of war. 

« D. PARKER, Mjt. ^ Insp. Gen:' 



Second Supplementary GENERAL ORDER. 



Second 

supple- 

Tneiuary 

General 

Order. 



«« Mjiitant ^ Inspector GeneraVs Office, 
December 2, 1814. 
*( Brigadier-general John Chandler, is detailed as a 
member of the general coi-irt martial, ordered to convene 
at Utica, in the state of New ITork, on the 3d of Janua- 
ry next, for the trial of Major-general Wilkinson, in 
lieu of Brigadier-general John P. Boyd, 
" By order, 

" D. PARKER, Mjt. ^ Insp. Gen.'* 



Constitu- 
tion of the 
court. 



Fork House f Utica, Jan. Sd, 1815. 
Agreeably to the preceding general orders, the mem- 
bers assembled at York House, in the village of Utica, 
and by the addition of the several supernumeraries, the 
court was organised as follows : 

President. 
Major-general H. Dearborn. 

Members. 
Major-general M. Lewis, 
Brig. Gen. Moses Porter, 
Brig. Gen. John Cliandler, 
Brig. Gen. D. Bissel, 
Col. J. Simonds, 5th inf. 
Col. P. P. Schuyler, 13th inf. 

• This officer, from his professional knowledge and experience, 
his lofty mind, and inflexible honour, was anxiously desired by the 
prisoner, as one of his judges. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 5 

Col. J. Kingsbury, 1st inf. CHAP, 

Col. J. Burn, light dragoons, *' 

Col. D. Brearly, 15th inf. v^">^-w 

Col. D. M*Cobb, 45th inf. 
Col. G. M*FeeIy, 25th inf. 
Lieut. Col. S. Talmadge, 46th inf. 

Evert A. Bancker — Judge Mvocate. 

The orders constituting the court having been read. 
Major-general James Wilkinson next appeared, [and General 
being questioned thereto, made no exception to the court, professes'^ 
and professed his readiness for trial.*] But, it being re- his readi- 
presented by the judge advocate, that certain documents p^.f,ceed— 
essential to the prosecution, had not been received from judge ad- 
the war department, and further, that no vitnessts at- movis an 
tended, on the part of the United States, the court ad- adjoum- 
journed to Friday, the 6th of January instant, 10 o'c/ocfe, ^^^'" 
A. M. 



York House, Utica, Jan. €th, 1815. 
The court convened pursuant to adjournment. The 
following order was produced and read. 

GENERAL ORDER. 

« Mjutant ^' Inspector General's Office, 
December 17 th, 1814. 
« Major-general Dearborn, president of the general 
court martial, ordered to convene at Utica, on the 3d of 
January next, is authorised to adjourn said court to meet 
and hold its session, at Albany, or Troy, in the state of 
New York. 

« By order. 

« D. PARKER, Mjt. ^- Insp, Gen.'* 

* Omitted by the judge advocate. 



e 



MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP. Whereupon a majority of the members advising a re- 
moval, and it also appearing, that the judge advocate. 
Adjourn- ^^^' want of the necessary documents, and witnesses, was 
ment and not prepared to proceed with the prosecution ; thr prcsi- 
of the ^^"t adjourned the court, to meet at some suitable place 
court to in the village of Troy, and state of New York, on Mon- 

1*roy« 

day the I6th day of January, inst. at 12 o'clock, A. M. 



Appear- 
ance of 
Martin 
Van Beu- 
ren esq. as 
special 
judge ad- 
vocate. 



War office 
appoint- 
ment of 
special 
judg-e ad- 
vocate. 



Court House f Troy, Jan. \6th, 1815. 

The court convened pursuant to adjournment. 

Major-general James Wilkinson, of the United States 
army, appeared; and being asked, if he objected to 
any of the members, whose names were severally call- 
ed, replied in the negative. 

Whereupon the prescribed oaths were administered 
to the president, and members of the court, and to the 
judge advocate. 

Martin Van Beuren, esquire, next appeared, and pro- 
duced his WARRANT, from the war department, to offi- 
ciate as SPECIAL JUDGE ADVOCATE, bcforc this court, in 
the words and figures following, viz. 

^^ Adjutant ^* Inspector General's Office, 
December 14th, 1814. 
« Sir, 

« Yon have been appointed special judge advo- 
cate, of the general court martial, ordered to convene 
at Utica, in the state of New York, on the 3d of January 
next, for the trial of Major-general Wilkinson, of the 
United States army. E. A, Bancker, esquire, army 
judge advocate, has been assigned to this duty, and 
will he directed to report to you, and furnish such papers 
and information as he may have relative to the case, and 
receive your directions,* in the necessary preparations 

* Thus the legitimate officer was made subordinate to an assist- 
ant, — the deputy placed above the principal, — rightful authority 
degraded, and the regular course of proceedings innovated. I had 
warned the adjutant and inspector general, of the illegality of this 



I, 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 

of the charges, &c. He will also aid you in the trial, as chap, 
assistant judge advocate. I have to request, that you 
will signify your acceptance, or non acceptance of this 
appointment. In case of acceptance, you will make the 
necessary arrangements for the trial. A rough draft of 
specifications of cffbirges, have heen furnished to Mr. 
Bancker, which will be subject to such alterations and 
amendments, as you may find necessary. General Wil- 
kinson will be advised of your appointment, and referred 
to you for such further information, as he may require 
relative to tlie trial. 

« By order of the secretary of war. 

«< I have the honour to be, &c. 

« D. PARKER, Mjt. <^ Insp. Gen, 
" Martin Van Beuren esq. 

Hudson, Mw York." 

The warrant having been read, Major-general Wil- 
kinson, objected to the admission of a special* judge ad- 



appointment, and had called on the secretary of war, to give him the 
same notification ; but he was absent, and my time would not allow 
me to wait for him ; I therefore left a message for him, and a refer- 
ence to the articles of war, which were opposed to this appointment, 
of special jud^-e advocate, with Lieutenant-colonel M'Pherson, and Mr. 
Tench Ringgold, whojn I found at the war office ; nevertheless, as a 
minister must not recede from his purpose, however destructive of 
the public interests, or ruinous to individuals, the same gentleman, 
who had been illegally imposed on General Hull, was also appoint- 
ed to assist at my trial. 

* In this case there was an attempt to trample upon the principles 
of justice, and to pervert the oi'dinary course of judicial proceedings. 
The prisoner had been furnished in November, 1814, by order of the 
President, with the charges and specifications, on which he had been 
arrested, and to which he was to plead, and these had previously un- 
dergone several changes and modifications ; but now in January, 1815, 
after the malice and ingenuity of Gen. Armstrong, and his co-adjutors, 
had been exhausted, and the prisoner is brought up for t:'i:il, he is 
given to understand, that an extra officer has been appointed, to the 
court, with extraordinary and illegal powers, to make such alterations 
and amendments, as he might deem necessary, This is recorded 



8 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, vocate, as unauthorised and illegal; submitting to the 
^^^_^;^^^ court, the following observations, as the grounds of his 
Geiuiai objections, viz. 

Wilkinson 

the%^ ° " The undersigned, James Wilkinson, being duly sen- 
pojntment sible that the riffhts of a soldior, evdf, in this government 
of laws, arc few; and that deprived of these, tlie garb of 
honour, will be converted into a badge of servilitij ; is im- 
pelled by the duty of his station^ which, imperiously re- 
quires of him, not only to maintain his own rightful pre- 
tensions, but, as far as may be in his power, to preserve 
those of his brethren in arms; especially, at a time, when 
war exists, and a large portion of his fetloyv -citizens, may 
be necessarily transformed into soldiers; most respectful- 
ly objects, to the admission of Martin Van Beuren esq., 
to appear and act, before the general court martial, as a 
special judge advocate; and in support of this objection, 
he with great deference submits, the following facts, and 
reasons, to the consideration of the court. 

« 1st — Because a special judge advocate, is unknown 
to the law, and therefore is unauthorised. 

« 2d — Because E. A. Bancker ESQ,, judge advocate, 
duly appointed by the President of tlie United States, ** by and 
with the ADVICE and consent of the senate," is pre- 
sent to perform the duties of said office; and the law does 
not allow, more than one person at tlie same time, to act 
as judge advocate, before a general court martial, for the 
prosecution of any real or supposed offence. 

a sd — ^Because the said judge advocate, E. A. Bancker 
- esq. was by the President of the United States, 
through the agency of his secretary of war, (the ho- 
nourable James Monroe) specially designated, to act 
in the capacity of judge advocate, in the case before you, 
as appears by the letter, of Colonel John R. Bell, inspec- 
tor-general, bearing date, tiic 18th day of JNovember, 



among the minoi- instances of the trembling- solicitude, with which 
President Madison, regards the laws of his country, and the rights of 
his fellow-citizens. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 

1814. A general or(!er, of the same date, and the copy CHAP 
of a letter from Daniel Parker, adjutant and inspector- 
general, to the said E. A. Banckcr esq. army judge ad- 
vocate, bearing date the 2d day of December, ISlij 
herewith presented. 

«4th — Because, since the act of Congress, passed on the 
11th day of January, 1812, ihe President of the United, 
States^ except when In actual service, in a military capa- 
city, has not power, to appoint any person to act as a judge 
advocate, without « the advice and consent of the 
Senate," while that Senate is in session, which is, and 
has been the case, for more than two months; inasmuch, 
as the constitution of the United States ordains, that 
while said Senate is in session, tiie President sJiall nomi- 
nate, and by, and with the advice and consent of the Se- 
nate, shall appoint all ofiicers, except in those cases, 
where Congress may vest the President, with power to 
appoint inferior officers; and it does not appear, that the 
Congress has invested the President, witli the power to 
appoint a judge advocate, in this, or any other case; in- 
asmuch as, the 21si section of the act, fixing the military 
pciice establishment, of the United States, passed on the 
16th day of March, 1802, is virtually, and by operation 
of law, repealed, by the I9th section of the act, entitled an 
act, to raise an additional military force, passed on the 
nth day ofJanuai-y, 1812. It must be observed, that the 
act, fixing the military peace establishment, of the United 
States, did not make any provision, for the regular ap- 
pointment of a judge advocate, to he attached to the staff 
of the army; and to remedy tlie defect of the same, in the 
Q,lst section of the said act, power is given, not only to the 
President of the United States, but, « to the Brigadier-gene- 
ral,'" or to the president of the court, whenever a general 
court martial shall be ordered, to appoint some fit person, 
to act as judge advocate. When the reason, for which 
this power was granted, ceased, viz. on the passage of 
the act of the 11th January, 1812, authorising the ap- 
pointment of judge advocates, with it ceased, the power 
VOL. HI. B 



10 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, itself. Now the Wth section of the act of the lith Janua- 
^' rijf 1812, peremptorily, ordains that there shall be ap- 
pointed to each division, a judge advocate. This sta- 
tute was obligatory on the President, and he did, ac- 
cordingly, *»' by and with the advice and consent of the 
Senate," appoint several judge advocates, and among 
them E. A. Bancker esq. The 2lst section of the act of 
the I6th March^ 1802, vested the President with powers to 
appoint some fit 'person, to act as judge, advocate; but the 
19th section of the act of January, 1812, created the office 
of judge advocate. Now, therefore, it would be absurd to 
suppose, that the 19th section of the act of January, 1812, 
did not virtually, and of itself, necessarily, repeal, annul 
and abrogate, the 2 1 si section of the act of the 16th March, 
1802; since, otherwise, two contradictory powers of ap- 
pointment, would exist, one with, and one without, the 
advice of the senate, precisely in the same case. Such a 
doctrine would be alike opposed to common sense, and to 
law; every affirmative statute, being, by implication, a 
repeal of any preceding affirmative statute, so far as it is 
contrary thereto; prior are abrogated by posterior laws; 
but was this doctrine admitted, a president of the United 
States migiit, under the last law, make sinecure births, 
whilst under the frst act, he miglit destroy the functions of 
the legitimate judge advocate, in each particular case, 
thereby extending his prerogative at his discretion ; and 
should it be the future destiny of our country, to have a 
VINDICTIVE TYRANT, in placc of a WISE and virtuous 
MAN, at the head of its government, he may exercise his 
authority, to ivrcak his vengeance on every unfortunate 
MU.ITARY MAN, who may incur his displeasure. 

a 5th. — Because, the said Martin Van B<uiren esquire, 
is a citizen of the state of New York, and a senator of 
the same, and in no way connected with, or attached to 
the army; nor docs he hold any office, or commission, 
whatsoever from the United States. Wherefoie, should 
it even be conceded, that the 9.\st section of the act of the 
16th March, 1802, was in force, still, the aforesaid Van 
Bcuren, would not be eligible to act, as judge advocate. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 11 

because that section expressly confines, the President of CHAP, 
the United States, the brigadier-general, or the president ^' 
of the court, to select such acting judge advocate, from per- 
sons belonging to the public service. Tliis fact is clearly 
demonstrated, by that part of the aforesaid section, which 
ordains that the person acting as judge advocatef shall be 
allowed, in addition to his other patjf one dollar and twenty- 
jive cents, for every day he shall be necessarily employed, in 
the duties of the said court: he must, therefore, be a per- 
son, who, independent of this allowance, of one dollar and 
twenty-jive cents per diem, receives ajixed and knoivn sum 
for his services, from the government. As Mr. Van Beu- 
ren, is not of this character, he did not, and does not, 
come within the designation of those persons, from whom 
the executive might have made a selection. In other 
words, tlie President did not possess constitutional, or 
XEGAL power, to appoint him, to act as judge advocate in 
this case; though he had, « 6i/ and with the advice and 
consent of the senate,^' to appoint him a judge advocate 
for the army. Could a doubt remain, as to the descrip- 
tion of persons, from whom the President might select 
one, to act as judge advocate, under the said act, of the 
16th of March, 1802j or who, in other language, was 
meant by the person, who shall receive, while so employ- 
ed, one dollar and twenty five cents, in addition to his other 
pay, such doubt would be removed, by the 19th section of 
the act of January, 1812; which ordains, that if a citizien, 
not belonging to the public service, is appointed judge ad- 
vocate, he shall receive the pay and emoluments of a major 
in the infantry: but if taken from the tine of the army, he 
shall receive thirty dollars per month, in addition to his pay. 
It is, therefore, evident that under the art, of the l&th 
March, 1802, the President could not appoint Mr. Van 
Beuren, because he did not belong to the public sei^vice. Reasons 
and cannot, therefore, receive one dollar and twenty-five pp^sjd^nt 
cents per day, in addition to his other pay; and that he could not 
could not appoint him, under tlie act of the 11th of Ja- Mr°Van 
nuary, 1812, because the act, docs not authorise the ap- Beuren. 
pointment of a judge advocate, for a particular case; and 



IS MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, because Mr. Van Beuren, has not been nominated to, and 
approved by the senate. 

« 6th. — Because, by the 69th article, of the rules and 
articles of war, it is enacted, that the judge advocate, or 
some person deputed by Mm, or by t!ie general, or officer 
commanding the army, detachment ov garrison, sliall pro- 
secute in the name of the United States. We find st)me 
obscurity in this article, yet a fair explanation, and full 
interpretation, will dispel every doubt, and remove every 
difficulty. It is necessary to remariv, that at the time of 
the enactment of the rules and articles of war, April 10, 
1806, our army consisted of the military peace establish- 
ment, of the 16th March, 1802; it was commanded by a 
single general officer, he a brigadier, and the corps was 
frittered into detachments, and garrisons, scattered 
throughout the national limits. To meet the exigencies 
of t!ie service, and to enforce the principles of subordi- 
nation, and discipline, with promptitude and effect, under 
such a dispersion of the troops, the general commanding 
the army, and colonels commanding great districts, were 
authorised to appointgeneral coui'ts martial, and,of course, 
judge advocates; hence the singular phraseology, in the 
2lst section of the act of the 16th March, 1802, «///e bn- 
gadier-general, and tlie president of the court ;^' and in the 
article under consideration, <« the general or officer com- 
manding the army, detachment or garrison." 

« But by no interpretation, however strained, can the 
GENERAL be made to imply, the President of the United 
States. Referring, particularly, to the 69th article of 
Mar, we find that the judge advocate, « or some person 
deputed by him," not the judge advocate, and some person 
deputed by him, shall prosecute; and hence it follows, in- 
contestihly, that one la-iv offi.ccr, and but one, shall appear 
before a general court martial, to prosecute in the name 
of the United States; tlie first right of substitution, was 
reserved to the judge advocate; the second right of sub- 
stitution, necessarily, to the general, or officer command- 
ing the ai-my, &c. In case of the non-appointment, or 
default of the judge advocate, from whatever cause, it is 



GENERAL WILKINSON. IS 

apparent, that by the general, or officer commanding, is chap, 
meant the person, in actual command, and not the chief * 
magistrate of the United States; who, although the con- ^^^^^.^1 
stitutional commander in chiefs of the armij and navy of tlie or officer 
United States, and of the militia^ when in actual service, l^^^'^an- 
has never been spoken of, or described in any statute, as not be 
the general; and, who, so long as he continues to exer- i^ntJ^Presi- 
cise, the functions of president of these states, cannot be dent, 
so designated. It would be as humiliating, as ridiculous, 
to reduce the President, to the iQvel of the judge advo- 
cate, vi^hom he nominates, and, with the advice and con- 
sent of the senate, appoints to office; yet such would be 
the case, were he liable to appoint, the deputy of the 
judge advocate. And liow can we reconcile, the func- 
tions of the chief magistrate, of the nation, to the duties 
of a petty commandant, of a military detachment, or gar- 
rison? It is equally absurd to say, that by the general, or 
officer commanding, was meant the President. The dis- 
tinction is too obvious, to escape the dullest observer, 
the President, is appointed by the people ; the general is 
appointed by the Presidentf by and with the advice^ and 
consent of the senate, and is the officer of the President. 
The conclusion, which should establish the proposition, 
that by the words *« the general commanding,'* is meant 
the President, would necessarily subject him, to martial washin^- 
law and military punishment, like other officers, which ton at- 
would involve the monstrous absurdity, of a general assem- 
being brought to trial, who possessed power to pardon f^lage of 

troons sit 

himself. For a more pointed illustration, let us review Bedford, 
the expedition, to repress the western insurrection: Pre- but Cene- 
siDENT Washington, attended the assemblage of troops command- 
at Bedford, from the several adjacent states; but, at tiuit ed— Pie- 

"^ sidentMa- 

place, he appointed General Lee to the command. In ajson at 

THE lATE AFFAIR, NEAR BiADENSBURGH, THE PrESI- Bladens- 

birg-hjbut 
DENT WAS ON THE FIELD OF BATTLE, BUT GENERAL General 

Winder was the general and commanded. ^^1"'^^^1j 

cominand- 

« JAMES WILKINSON, Maj. Gen.'' ed. 
In reply to the objections thus raised^i the special 
judge advocated stated. 



14 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. <' That the delicacy of his situation, rendered it, in his 
*• judgment improper, to enforce by a full discussion, his 
Mr Van I'ight of conducting the prosecution J that lie had felt him- 
Beuren's self, bound to obey the call, which had been made upon 
^^^^' him, by the government^ and was now prepared, with 
the permission of the court, to enter upon the discharge 
of the duties, attached to the station, for which he had 
been selected j that he deemed the autliority, under ^hich 
he claimed to act, compLtiDt for him, and binding on the 
court : that it was for them to say, how far they were 
authorised, to arraign the conduct of the govern- 
ment, in this respect, and decide on the legality, of the 
course which had been adopted ; that he should con- 
form to such order, as they might feel at liberty, 
and justified to make, in the premises." 
Judge ad- Mr. Van Beuren having concluded his remarks, the 
deavours judge advocate read page 207 of Tytler on martial law, 
to sustain ^^ authority for the course, which had been pursued by 

Mr. Van '' ' ^ ^ 

Beuren's the government. 

appoint- jje- „gxt cited the trial of Brigadier-general Hull, as a 
precedent* in point, and adverted to the practice com- 
mon in naval courts martial, of appointing special judge 
advocates 5 likewise in the criminal courts, of the United 
States, where common law maxims govern, though the 
attorney-general is the only public prosecutor, recognis- 
ed by tlic statute ; yet it has been the established usage, 
to employ counsel in most important cases. 

The court being, thereupon, cleared ; after full and de- 
liberate discussion; and having maturely weiglied the 
objections, advanced, was of opinion: 

« Ist.^ — That it had full cognizance, and was compe- 
tent to determine, upon the legality of the special judge 

* The judge advocate, true to his trust, and content with his de- 
gradation, (although the legitimate officer of the court) appeared, 
not only willing, but desirous, to wave the privileges of his rank, and 
submit to receive instructions from an assistant; for this end, he la- 
boured with an unholy zeal, in support of the usurpation of the exe- 
cutive, and contributed his aid, to found a precedent, on an illp^l 
exertion of power. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 15 

advocate's appointment; though emanating from the same chap. 
aiithorityf which constituted the court. '" 

<«£d. — That in cases, where a regular judge advocate 
has heen assigned, and is attending on the part of the 
prosecution, tlie court cannot admit as principal prose- 
cutor, a special judge advocate, designated hy the war 
department, and neither in the line or staff of the army." 

The court* accordingly decided, that Mar- Decision 

TIN Van Beuren esq. cannot be recognised, as ^^^^^ 

court. 
SPECIAi judge advocate, ON THE PRESENT TRIAl. 

The court having determined on the exclusion, of Mr. 
Van Beuren, the judge advocate observed, that being 
well aware, it was not designed that he should singly un- 
dertake, a trial so important and arduous, as the present, 
and knowing, that a gentleman distinguished in his pro- 
fessioUf had been selected, he felt reluctant to contravene 
the intentions of the government; under any other circum- 
stances, he should not have hesitated, but he felt a deli- 
cacy in assuming a responsibility, not originally] hiSj and 
which has become so merely by accident. 

* This determination of thp members of this general court martial, 
well deserves to be recorded, in letters of gold; its authors, will 
live in the grateful remembrance of posterity, while the occasion 
which produced it will excite abhorrence; and the more lasting will 
be their fame, when, it is recollected, tJiat they thus dared to main- 
tain \.hc\r just mithority, to assert the rights of their brethren in arms, 
and to uphold the pure principles of external justice, in theyhce of des- 
potic POWER; they risked nothing, they calculated clearly, and 
ably, on the times they lived in, and on the dispositions of the execu- 
tive ; and resolved on a noble sacrifice ; *• fiat justitia ruat cclum." 
They were not mistaken; the penalty due for the exercise of indepen- 
dence, and their adherence to the obligations of conscience and ho- 
nour, was levied with an inexorable hand; and out of thirteeiv 
itembers, who had been selected, for this general court martial, one 
only was retained, on the reduction of the army ; another, it is true, 
after being degraded from his rank, has been re-admitted ; and yet 
after all this, it would be a political heresy, to question the justice 
and the magnanimity, of the meek, and mild, and virtuous. President 
Madison. 

t Yet the General Orders, constituting the court, and adjutant-ge- 
neral's letters, shew, that he was " originally" appointed judge advo- 
cate to it, and tliat Mr. Yitn Beuren was not named. 




16 MEMOIRS BY 

Under these impressions, he would with permission of 
the court, beg leave to decline. 
jTcige ad- "^^^ court was of Opinion, that it was the duty of the 
vocate judge advocate to proceed witli the trial, and adjourned 
toded^e^ to the 17th instant, 10 o'clock. 
acting-. 

Court House f Troy, Jan. 17 th, 1815. 

The court convened pursuant to adjournment. 

The previous minutes having been read, the judge 
advocate demanded, of Major-general James Wilkinson, 
if he was prepared to plead to the cliarges? who replying 
in the affirmative, was thereupon, arraigned as follows, 
viz. 

« The United States of America, 

^< Major-general James Wilkinson. 

« Charges against Major-general James Wilkinson, 
of the army of the United Slates, preferred by order of 
the secretary of war, viz. 
Charges. " CHARGE 1st.— NEGLECT OF DUTY, AND 
UNOFFICER-LIKE CONDUCT. 

« Specification 1st. — In unnecessarily delaying, and 
retardijig the movement of the troops, under his com- 
mand at Fort George, from that post to Henderson's bay, 
or Sackctt's Harbour, during the months of September, 
and October, 1813; to the great detriment of the service, 
by failing to make, or cause to be made, the proper pre- 
parations for their embarkation, and, particularly, by 
causing the said troops, or a part thereof, after they had 
embarked or sailed from Fort George, to return to the 
same, under a fictitious alarm, for the safety of that post. 

*< Specification 2d.— In not accompanying as his 
duty required him to do, the movement of the said troops, 
from Fort George to Henderson's bay, or Sackett's Har- 
bour, during the months of September, and October, 



GENERAL WILKINSON. I7 

1813, and in omitting to hasten their progress, agreeably chap 
to his orders, and the plan of tlie campaign. ' 

" Specificatiojv od. — 'In losing much time, very un- 
necessarily, and to the great injury of the service, during 
tlje month of October, 1813. at Sacketl's Harbour and 
in the movement of the troups, under his command, from 
that post to Grenadier Island, and particularly in caus- 
ing the said troops, or a part thereof, after tliey had em- 
harkcrl, or were prepared foi* embarkation for Grenadier 
Island, with their stores, artillery, provisions, &c. to 
wit, on, or about the 4th day of October, aforesaid, to 
debark at the said Harbour, their stores, artillery, pro- 
visions, &c. on pretence of making new arrangements, 
thereby losing the peiiod, most fit for the said move- 
ment, as to time and weather j causing the actual move- 
ment to be made under circumstances, bringing with 
them great delay, embarrassment, and public loss ; and 
also, greatly tending, to prevent a successful prosecution 
flf the expedition, for which the said troops were des- 
tined. 

•« Specificatiox 4th.. — In declaring openly and pub- 
licly between the 16th of October, and the 12th of No- 
vember, 1813, and during the expedition of the said 
troops, ilown the St. Lawrence under his command ,• in 
substance, that the offi. ers of the ai-my commanding in 
boats, having on board provisians, and public stores, liad 
no care or charge tlu-reof, and that it made no part of 
their duty, to preserve or keep safe the same^ and re- 
fusing to make it the duty of the oifirers, to attend to 
their safe keeping, although, advised of the abuses which 
existed, in that respect; thereby causing and counte- 
nancing negligence, and waste, and inculcating on the 
minds of tiic officers, under Ids command, a disregard to 
the prcser\ ation of the public propeity, to the great da- 
mage of the service. 

" Specificatiox 5th. — In calling two councils of 
war during the month of Novembei-, 1813, the one at or 
in the vicinity of French Cieek, and tbc other in the vi- 
cinity of the village of Hamilton; submitting thereto, the 
VOL. III. C 



18 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, stiitc of liis provisions, (the preservation of which had 
^" heen so as aforesaid disregarded by him) as a reason for 
discoutinuin!^ t!ie expedition, to the great injury of the 
pnblic service. 

^< Specificatioiv 6th. — In unnecessarily delaying t!ie 
movement of the troops, under his command, from Gre- 
nadier island j and particularly in embarking, ajid again 
disembarking, the corps of artillery, attached to Ids 
command, at Grenadier island aforesaid, without rea- 
sonable cause j in useless, and injurious delays of the 
army, under his command, in its descent of tiie St. Law- 
rence, and, particularly at the places of his encampment 
on French creek, in Upper Canada, in the vicinity of 
Morrisville, in the state of New York, and below and in 
the vicinity of Ogdensburgh ; under the pretence, at the 
latter place, of detaching Colonel (now Major-general) 
Macomb, with the corps elite, to seize on the village of 
Matilda, in Upper Canada, without previously ascer- 
taining, whether the said post was occupied by, or whc- 
tiier the enemy were in force there ; and in actually send- 
ing Colonel (now Major-general) Macomb with the corps 
elite, to carry the said post of Matilda, when the same 
had in fact been evacuated, or was not then occupied by 
the enemy ; thereby greatly and unnecessarily, iinpcding 
the progress of his army, when it was in his power to 
have ascertained, the true state and condition of the said 
post, before he made the said detachment; also in similar 
other delays, at various other places, between Prescott 
and the vicinity of Cornwall; tiius allowing the enemy 
to discover the object of his movement, enabling them to 
come up with his rear, to make more effectual prepara- 
tion to resist and repel his attack on Monti-eai, the pro- 
fessed object of his movements ; and to clteck, harass, 
and impede his progress, to the great injury of tise ser- 
vice. 

« SPECiFicATioif 7th. — In detaching Brigadier (iiov, 
Major-general) Brown, with a large corps of the arm} 
in front, on or about tlie 10th of November, 1813, after 
it was known the enemy was in his rear, and disposed lo 




GENERAL WILKINSON. I9 

assail it ', and in not first taking competent measures, to 
defeat and destroy the corps of the enemy, thus hanging 
on, and disturbing his rear, or, afterwards, to form a 
junction with the troops thus detached, as soon as the 
object of the detachment was effected, but on the con- 
trary, exposing the service to imminent hazard, and to 
great actual injury, by unnecessarily engaging t!ie ene- 
my, with a portion of his army only, inferior to that of 
the hostile corps, M'hich hung on and threatened his rear, 
at the time, of the detachment of General Brown as 
aforesaid. 

« Specification Stii.' — In failing to adopt such mea- 
sures, as were proper and practicable, on or about the 
30th of March, 1814, to reduce the Britisli post at La 
Cole mill, in the province of Lower Canada, and to cap- 
ture the garrison thereof; especially in remaining inac- 
tive, four hours and upwards, before the said post, with 
an effective and well disciplined force, under his com- 
mand, far superior in number to tiie enemy, and fully 
adequate to the reduction of the said place j in omitting 
to demand the surrender thereof, and to carry the same 
by storm ; and finally withdrawing his troops, in a hasty 
and disgraceful manner, under cover of the nigbt, from 
before the said post, defended by a small body of the 
enemy ; thereby deeply wounding the feelings of his sub- 
ordinate ollicers, destroying the spirit of the soldiers, and 
exposing the army to mortification and disgrace. 

" CHARGE 2d DRUNKENNESS ON DUTY. 

" SpecificatioiV 1st. — In being intoxicated by wine, 
or spirituous liquors, or both, on or about the 6th of No- 
vember, 1813, in the vicinity of Ogdensburgh; and while 
the flotilla, and army uruler liis command, were preparing 
to pass, and were engaged in passing the enemy's for- 
tress at Prescott; and to such a degree as to disqualify 
him, from a correct, regular, and faitliful discharge of 
his duty as commanding general; whereby a pernicious 
example was given to the officers, and troops, under his 
command ; the discipline of the said troops, in danger of 
being relaxed, their confidence in the discretion of their 



20 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, commander diminished, and the said army exposed to the 
hazard of <lisorder and defrat. 

" Specification" 2d. — In being intoxicated by wine, 
or spirituous liquors, or both, on or about the 7th of No- 
vember, 1813, in the vicinity of Ogdensburgh, during 
the said expedition under his command, to a degree dis- 
qualifying him for the faithful discharge, of the duties 
attached to his station, and highly degra<ling to his cha- 
racter as a gputleman, and a commanding officer of an 
army, in the presence of several subordinate officers, and 
other persons ; thereby wounding the just pride of the 
officers under l»is command, exposing them to great mor- 
tification, impairing the confidence in their commanding 
General, and, also, thereby exposing the prosecution, of 
the said expedition, to great hazard, shame, and disap- 
pointment. 

« CHARGE .^d.— CONDUCT UNBECOMING AN 
OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN. 

" Specification 1st. — In declaring on, or about the 
1st of November, 1S13, at or near Grenadier Island, that 
liis orders were positive to make Montreal, the object of 
his attack j and that they left nothing to his own choice, 
thereby wilfully and falsely misrepresenting, the orders 
under which he acted. 

« Specification 2d. — In speaking very disrespect- 
fully, and improperly of the army, and of the service, in 
which he was employed, on or about the Ttb of Novem- 
her, 1813, in the vicinity of Ogdensburgh, by damning 
the army, the expedition, and himself. 

« Specification 3d. — In w riting a letter, on or about 
the 10th of June, 1813, and after his designation to a 
command in the ninth military district, to Major-general 
Morgan Lewis, then serving in that district, tending to 
induce that officer to avoid danger in battle; under the 
pretext that he, the said Major-general Lewis, and he him- 
self. Major-general Wilkinson, were master spirits, and not 
to be exposed to such danger,, into which, the younger 
officers should be puslicd, or words to that effect, thereby 
striking at the very foundation of military character, and 



GENERAL WILKINSON. ^1 

service, and calculated to bring shame, and disgrace chap. 
upon the American arms. '• 

« Specification ith. — In being intoxicated by wine 
or spirituous liquors, or both, on or about the 6th of No- 
vember, 1813, in tbe vicinity of Ogdensburgh, and while 
the flotilla and army, under his command, were prepar- 
ing to pass, and were engaged in passing, the enemy's 
fortress, at Prescott ; and to such a degree, as to disqua- 
lify him from a correct, regular, and faithful discharge 
of liis duty, as commanding General, whereby a perni- 
cious example, was given to the officers and troops, un- 
der his command, the discipline of the said troops, in 
danger of being relaxed, their confidence in the discre- 
tion of their commander diminished, and the said army, 
exposed to the hazard of disorder and defeat. 

" Specificatiox 5th. — In being intoxicated, on the 
'T'th of November, 1813, at the house of Daniel Thorpe, 
in the vicinity of Ogdensburgh j and while commanding 
an army of the United States, engaged in an important 
expedition; and while in this condition, singing in the 
presence of officers, and others, an obscene and ludi- 
crous song, in relation to the said expedition, thereby de- 
grading his own character as an officer, and gentleman, 
mortifying the military pride of his subordinate officers, 
and bringing shame and disgrace, upon the character of 
the American army. 

" Specification 6th. — In inducing Brigadier-gene- 
ral Swartwout, to send or convey to him an original 
order, given by him, James Wilkinson, to said Swart- 
Wout, for the purpose of having it copied; pretending to 
have no copy thereof, and after obtaining tlie said origi- 
nal order, declining to return it, on pretence that he had 
not seen the same, or been in the possession thereof; or 
that it had not been communicated to him, since the time 
of its issue ; thus falsely and unjustly withholding an 
order, essential to the safety and justification, of a high 
and responsible officer. 

« CHARGE 4th.— COUNTENANCING AND EN- 
COURAGING DISOBEDIENCE OF ORDERS. 



J3 MEMOIRS BY 

criAP. " Specification 1st. — In issuing a general order, at 
^- Waterlord, in the state of New York, on the 1 8th of Ja- 
nuary, 1814, and communicating the same to Colonel 
Simon Larned, then in the military service of the United 
States, of the tenor and effect following : 

GENERAL ORDER. 

'i Waterjord, Jan. 18t!h 1814. 

<• A military officer, is bound to obey promptly and 
without hesitation, every order he may receive, whicli 
does not affect his honour; but this precious inheritance, 
must never be voluntary forfeited, nor should any earth- 
ly power, wrest it from him ; it follows, that when an 
officer is made prisoner and released, on his parole of 
honour, not to bear arms against the enemy ; that no 
professional duties, can be imposed upon him, while he 
continues in that condition ; and under such circum- 
stances, any military man will justify him for disobe- 
dience. 

»' Captain J. D. Coon, of the 16th infantry, and Captain 
Elam Lyiids, of the 29th infantry, will join their respec- 
tive regiments without delay, and report to the command- 
ants thereof. 

" JAMES WILKINSON." 

" Intending to contravene, and defeat, an order given 
by the department of war, and communicated by the said 
Colonel Simon Larned, commanding at Greenbush, in 
the state of New York, — tliereby countenancing and in- 
tending to encourage subordinate officers, to disobey 
orders from the war department ; and particularly that, in 
relation to the duties to be imposed on prisoners of war, 
to the great detiiment of the service, and the entire pros- 
tration of all military discipline, and obedience. 

*' M. V. BEUREN, Special Judge Mvocate, 
« E. A. BANCKER, Judge Advocate.'' 



GENERAL WILKINSON. ^3 

The charges having been read, Major-general Wilkin- chap. 

son, objected to plead to the same on the ground, that he ^• 

had already been served with a series of charges from g^„^j.j^i 

the former secretary of war, John Armstrong esq. his judge Wilkinson 

advocate, Inspector-general Bell, and Adjutant-general ^^^^ ^y° 

Parker, with additional specifications ; — and that a gene- the char- 
ges, on ac- 
ral court martial, had been actually apponited, to try him count ot 

on tho'je charffes, which varied materially, from those ^'^^ ^''^' , 

*^ *^ quent, and 

just read to the court; that with tlie order constituting material 

the court, one set had been transmitted to him, by Colo- ^y^^'^- 

' •' tionsmade 

nel Bel!, then acting inspector-general, at Washington, in them. 
which had been afterwards recognised, by the adjutant 
and inspector-general Pai'ker. And as the government 
had elected, to take this course, the present judge advo- 
cate, was precluded from making, any alterations in the 
charges, t!ius served upon him, against which he was pre- 
pat ed to defend himself. [General Wilkinson further ob- 
served, that it was not from any apprehension, of the 
calumnies, levelled at him, however they might be modi- 
fied and improved, but that his motive was, to uphold 
piinciple and resist innovation, from whatever authority 
it might emanate.]* On these grounds, and for other rea- 
sons, suggested in the course of his remarks. General 
Wilkinson contended, that the present charges were in- 
adtnissible, and urged to tlie court, the propriety of re- 
jecting tiiem. 

The judge advocate, in reply, observed, that agreeable judge 
to martial law, and established usage, it is his province =^c^^°^''^^<^ "^ 
to conduct the prosecution, and serve a copy of the 
charges! on the accused. A degree of responsibility, 
necessarily, attaches to him in this character, as all de- 
fects in a charge, will naturally be imputed to the osten- 
sible siippcjrter. Under such circumstances, it would he 



* O.nltted by the judge advocate. 

t But in tliis cuEf, the charges, had been under consideration since, 
.'uly 9, 1814, liiul been an-ancred, modified, altered, added to, and twice 
served on the accused, :n.d a fcirt h;id been aprointed to try him or 
'''.em. 



34t MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, contrary to justice, and policy, to deprive him of the 
^' right of giving the charges, a proper and legal shape; 
and excluding, as far as practicable, all defects in form, 
or substance. This practice has always been recognised, 
and Tytler, page 218, and Macomb^ page 68, are conclu- 
sive authority on the point. According to the doctrine 
there laid down, material alterations may be made, at 
any time before the trial, with the consent of the power, 
ordering the court. That this consent has been given, is 
in proof before the court, and in pursuance thereof, the 
alterations have been made. It is impossible, that this 
course should operate to the prejudice of any party, espe- 
cially in the present instance. If th*^ object of General 
Wilkinson, was to challenge a full and fair investigation : 
lie could with confidence declare, that the amended 
charges, would better meet his views ; inasmuch as they 
contain, a more precise and distinct specification, of the 
facts wjjich form the basis of the accusation. 

The court being cleared; after duly weighing the ob- 
jections urged, was of opinion, that the charges and sjie- 
cifications exhibited, are calculated to give due notice to 
the party accused, of the facts to be relied on by the pro- 
secutor. That on comparing them with those heretofore 
served, on General Wilkinson, no material variations 
Gotirt de- appear. The court accordingly determined, that he 

termiries , , . ., 

that plead to the same. 

General Whereupon the doors were opened ; and the above de- 
Wilkinson ..... 1 »« • IT -.I'll • 

ought to cision having been read; Major-general James Wilkin- 
ple;id. gQj^^ pleaded, 

Plea not a NOT GUILTY" to the several charges and specifi- 
' cations, exhibited against him. 

Tlie judge advocate next stated, that he was under the 

unpleasant necessity of informing the court, that none of 

the material witnesses summoned on the part of tiie pro- 

judgead- secution, had arrived. He must tlierefore claim tlie in- 

VOCStG 

moves for diligence of the court, and solicit an adjournment for a 

further f^^^, ^\^y^^ 

adjourn- "^ 

ment. The court postponed deciding upon this application, 

ami adjourned to the 18th inst. 10 o'clock. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. ^$ 

CHAP. 
Court House, Troy, January, lS,th, IS 15. y.^,r-v^->ta^ 

The court convened pursuant to adjournment. 

The judge advocate repeated his application for al- 
joiirnment of the trial, until Thursday, the 26th instant; 
on tlie ground, that the material witnesses for the prose- 
cution were still absent. 

Before deciding upon this point, Major-genernl Wil- 
kinson made an application to the court, in the following 
words, viz. 

" Troy, January ISth, 1815. 
*« Sir, 

"It is my earnest desire, that the general court mar- General 

,.,.,., . , , . ... , jtr Wilkinson 

tial, at which you preside, may take immediate and cnec- moves the 
tual steps, to procure from the war department, copies court, to 
of the orders given to the late Major-general Hampton, ceriaia 
when directed to take command in military district, No. orders, 

ccirrespon* 

9. ; and afterwards, so long as he continued, at the head dence, &c> 
of the right di\isionof the army, within the said district; 
together with, copies of the official correspondence, pub- 
lic and pri\ate, between the said Major-general Hamp- 
ton, and the late secretary of war General John Arm- 
strong, so long as he, the said Hampton, contiwued in 
command of the said right division; and more especially, 
the correspondence between them, at the time, and aftei* 
the arrival of the said John Armstrong, in the city of 
Albany, in the month of August, 1813. 

*' I deem tliis correspondence, vitally essential to my 
defence, in order to shew, that after I had been invested, 
with the command of military district. No. 9, and the 
troops therein, the said General Armstrong, late secre- 
tary of war, treading on my steps, entered the said dis- 
trict, and did, then and there, in concert with the said 
Hampton, usurp the controul of the right division of the 
army, previously assigned to my command, within the 
said district ; whereby the fundamental principles of sub- 
ordination, and discipline were subverted, my rightful 

VOL. HI. D 



S6 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, and necessary authority annulled, my responsibility as a 
^^^_„^ commander dissolved, the movement of the troops under 
my command retarded, and diverted from the proper ob- 
jects of the campaign ; and thus the views of the govern- 
ment were defeated. 

« With great respect, 
«I am. Sir, 

« Your obedient servant, 
"JAMES WILKINSON. 

*< The Hon. Henry Dearborn^ Major-general, 
and President oj a General Court MartiaW 



The judge advocate, in opposition to this application, 
offered the following remarks. 
Judere ad- « It is with infinite regret, Mr. President, I am under 
pases^the ^^^ necessity, of •)bjecting to the admission of any testi- 
applica- mony, which General Wilkinson deems material to his 
defence. But considering, the papers now called for, to- 
tally disconnected with the prosecution, that the accused 
cannot even designate the particular letters demanded, 
nor how far, and in what points they are relevant to the 
case; it appears to me, indelicate and unwarrantable, 
upon such slight grounds, to ask for documents from the 
secretary of war; upon the mere suggestion of General 
Wilkinson, and without even the formalities indispensa- 
ble in other courts, we are asked to aid in the investiga- 
tion of the public acts, and private correspondence of the 
late secretary of war; who is not now upon his trial, nor 
in any respect amenable to this tribunal According to 
legal definitions, " evidence is that which demonstrates, 
and proves the matter in issue ;" every thing foreign to 
this point ; all circumstances which have not a direct, or 
indirect tendency, to elucidate the case, are therefore, in- 
admissable. Apply the above rule, to the charges under 
consideration; and I ask, what relation the imputed con- 
cert, between General Armstrong and Major-generjil 
Hampton, has to General Wilkinson's mismanagement 
in the campaign of 1813? On recurring to the siiecifica- 



GENERAL WILKINSON. S7 

lions, the court will perceive that the major part of them, chap. 
impute to the accused, certain sins of omissions ; they ' 
allege, that he created unnecessary and injudicious delays, 
in the movement of the troops, under his actual com- 
mand; to wit, at Fort George, Sackett's Harbour, Gre- 
nadier Island, and down the St. Lawrence; that with the 
force, so under his controul, and more than competent for 
his purpose, he also failed to defeat the enemy, at Wil- 
liamsburgh; and by his injudicious measures, suffered 
them to escape. 

« The events, out of which the principal accusation has 
arisen, all occurred, before it was possible to have form- 
ed a junction with General Hampton; before the army 
arrived at the point, designated for such junction. 

« The specifications apply solely to errors, in the ar- 
rangement made by the accused, for the movement of the 
forces, who attended him down the St. Lawrence, and 
wholly disconnected from Hampton's division. Admit- 
ting for a moment, the possibility, that General Wilkin- 
son, by succeeding in his present application, should 
make any discoveries, implicating a third person; should 
shew that, by the private orders of General Armstrong, 
the right wing of the army, was exempted from his con- 
troul; will this exculpate the accused, for the omission of 
his duty? Will it defend him from the imputation, of 
having wasted the most precious periods of the cam- 
paign, at Fort George, and other places in his route? — 
I contend, Mr. President, that the specifications against 
him, have no reference, to any other body of troops, 
than the one, under his immediate command; tliat it is 
quite immaterial to the points in issue, whether General 
Hampton's division was waiting his arrival, on the banks 
of the St. Lawrence, or reposing in their barracks at 
Plattsburgh; that the acts with wbicb he is charged, oc- 
curred previous to his knowledge of Hampton's refusal 
to join him, and could have no influence, upon his mea- 
sures; that in his official communication to General 
Armstrong, he pointedly dedares, that Major-general 
Hampton's extraordinary refusal to join him, reached 



nS MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. Ilim on the 12th Novembor, 1813; two days after the 
battle of Williamsbuigli, and as the accused observes, 
bl.isted all his hopes, and destroyed every prospect of the 
campaign. Wbalever disroveries, therefore, might be 
made by tbe required correspondence, they could n^/t be 
offered as a defence, for eirors committed anterior to 
this date. He had prior to tl»e 12th (if November, every 
reason to believe, that General Flampton would join 
him, and should have governed himself accordingly. 
Upon tl)cse grounds, 1 trust, the application will be re- 
jected." 
The court The court being cleared; after considerable discussion, 
faTour of " tl^'ded, «« that application be made to tbe secretary of 
General war, for such parts of the correspondence not yet offi- 
son's'ap- cially published, and not improper to be made public, as 
plication, passed between the late secretary of war. General Arm- 
strong, and Major-general Hampton, relating to an inter- 
ference with Major-general Wilkinson's command, in 
1813; — tbat when received, the same be admitted in evi- 
dence before tliis court." 

A question was next taken, upon the application of the 
judge advocate, to adjourn until Thursday, the 26th inst. 
on account of the absence of material witnesses. 
Court ve- Which being determined in the negative; the court ad- 
theAd-' journcd to the 19th January, 10 o'clock, A. M. 

journ- 

the"a'"rir ^^"^'^ House, Troy, January im, 1815. 

cation of The court convened pursuant to adjournment; but 
advocate! Major-general Wilkinson being prevented by indisposi- 
tion from attending, it adjourned to the 20th inst. 10 
o'clock* 

Troy, January 20iA, 1815,^ 
The court convened pursuant to adjournment. The 
judge advocate made an appeal to the court, in conse- 
quence of tbe refusal of bis motion, for a postponement; 
stated the continued absence of the most material witnes- 
ses for the prosecution, and assigned his reasons for not 
proceeding? with the trial under existing circumstances. 



GENERAL. WILKINSON. gg 

{General Wilkinson* then read, in his place, the fol- chap, 
lowing letter to tlie president, and delivered it in at the ^ 
table. 

*'^ Troyt January 19th, 1815. 
« Sir, 

"The delays which have attended, the proceedings of General 

Wilkin- 

the general court martial, ordered for my trial, cause me g^„j»s ^p, 
greiit inquietude, and will, I trust, excuse this trespass peal to the 

court, 

on the time of the court. It is nine months since, under against 
a fi'igncd pretext, I was rohhed of my command, and ^^^^ P^^- 

... ,. IIP x-i crastina- 

two months since this court, was ordered tor my trial, tion of his 
Not a sinffle witness has yet been examijied, and, now, *."*'> •^'^^ 

^ the mo- 

the public prosecutor comes forward, to solicit an ad- tion of the 
joiirnment for ten days; and wherefore this application? '"^'■'^^ ^^' 
professedly to gain time, for the collection of testimony ; delay. 
' — this claim. Sir, is unreasonable; 'tis unjust; — it is not 
warranted, by the established rules of criminal jurispru- 
dence, and is fraught with the most dangerous conse- 
quences to me : — I say, it is unreasonable, because the 
witnesses required in favour of the prosecution, are sub- 
ject to the orders of tl»e government; it is unjust, because 
it procrastinates my lingering sufferings, and protracts 
the, species of, jlisgrace, attached to the unmerited condi- 
tion, in which I have been placed; and it is replete, with 
dangerous consequences to me, because, from the circum- 
stances of the war, the enemy, by a sudden irruption into 
our territory, may call every military officer to his post, 
and dissolve this court; whereby, I shall be deprived of 
all chance of justice, and, after more than thirty years of 
faithful sei'vice, to my country, shall be hung up, a spec- 
tacle of public reproach, a victim of pei'sonal revenge, to 
an indefinite period, and possibly for the remainder of a 
life, which has been devoted to my country, from the ear- 
liest dawn of that glorious revoluticm, whi( h secured to 
the British colonies, a name among the nations of the 
earth. 

• Omitted in the proceedings by the judge advocate. 



30 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. (f Were other arguments necessary, to sustain my ob- 



jections, to this motion for an adjournment, they might be 
adduced : 

it 1st. — From magna carta, which declares, that 
JUSTICE shall neither be delated, nor denied, nor 
soxD, nulli vendimuSf nulli negabimus, ant differemus rec- 
tum veljustitiam — 4 Blackstone's Com. p. 424 — and this 

is the FOUNDATION OF THE LIBERTY OF AMERICANS. 

« 2d — The 6th amendment, of the Constitution of the 
United States, provides, that in all criminal prosecu- 
tions, the ACCUSED shall enjoy the right of a speedy 

AND PUBLIC TRIAL. 

*< Sd. — In all trials at common law, as soon as the jury 
is sworn, the evidence is given in — 4 Blackstone's Com. 
p. 355 — 3 Blackstone's Com. p. 368. 

« I cannot, therefore, for a moment suppose, that this 
honourable court, will so slightly regard, the rights of a 
fellow, as to suspend their proceedings, while six wit- 
nesses, to support the prosecution, and twenty to vindi- 
cate the prisoner, are in waiting, at an expense, of more 
than thirty dollars per day; particularly, as the public 
prosecutor, rests his motion for an adjournment, on the 
grounds of form and convenience, viz. that he may, by 
an accession of testimony, be enabled to commence the 
prosecution, with the first charge, and float with the 
winds and waves, from Fort George, down to the French 
Mills. But, Sir, shall mere form and matter of conve- 
nience, be suffered to outweigh, solid rights and substan- 
tial justice? I trust not! I trust this tribunal of honour, 
whatevermay be the talents, and influence, exerted against 
me, will never abandon, the rules of the common law, 
and the practices by which military tribunals, (at once 
judges of the law and of the fact^ hold and are governed. 

(t The public prosecutor will not deny, that in the trial 
of an indictment, at the common law, consisting of two 
counts, containing charges for distinct crimes, the prose- 
cutor may begin with either, at his discretion, and in mili- 
tary COURTS, it is the right of the accused, to adduce 
his exculpatory evidence, and make his defence to each 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 31 

article of the charge separately, and the prosecutor may chap. 
commence, with either of the charges, at his discretion, 
and is not confined to the order, in which they are ar- 
rans;ed. This position is fully supported by authority — 
Tytler, 244. Macomb, ch. 4, sec. 3, p. 95. 1 therefore, 
cannot conceive the motives, of the public prosecutor's 
solicitude, for adhering so pertinaciously, to the prosecu- 
tion of the charges exhibited against me, in the order 
they stand ; for it would appear, as the prisoner has the 
option, to take up the charges separately, without regard 
to their order, it must be immaterial to the prosecutor, 
with which he begins. 

<« There is, yet, another objection, against putting off 
the trial, on account of the absence of witnesses, because 
the judge advocate, has not furnished the court, with a 
list of their names, nor stated t!ie points, which are to be 
individually supported. In courts of common law, trials 
are never postponed on the application, of the public pro- 
secutor, for the absence of witnesses, without shewing the 
materiality of their testimony, and that every exertion 
has been used to procure them, which his duty requires. 
And courts martial, are still more strict in this respect; 
they never put off trials, unless satisfactory jjroof be 
made. 1st — That the required, are material witnesses. 
2dly. — That there has been no neglect, in endeavouring 
to procure their attendance. 3dly. — That there is a rea- 
sonable expectation, their attendance may be procured, 
at the future time, to which, the prosecutor, prays the 
trial may be put off — (2d M'Arthur, p. 39.) And it is 
not enough, for the person, who applies to put off the 
trial, barely to swear to the materiality of the testimony, 
of the witnesses required, he is bound to furnish their 
names, to the court, and must set forth the points, which 
each of them is specifically to prove — (2d M'Arthur, p. 
99.) 

Before I dismiss this subject, I feel it a matter of pro- 
priety, and of interest, to suggest to the court, the neces- 
sity of coercing tlie attendance of the military witnesses, 
named on the part of my accuser; for if I may believe 



33 MEMOIRS Bt 

CHAP, liini, the charges presented against me, are founded oia 
'^- tlic information, of secret agents, spies, and rile assassins 
of gckjd fame, who having effected their purpose, to re- 
move me from my command, by misrepresentations, 
falsehoods, and treachery, dare not confront the man 
wh(»m they have stabbed in the dark, nor meet the scruti- 
ni%>ing eye of justice^ Possessed, as I now am, of the 
true character of my accuser, I am convinced, nothing 
would be so agreeable to him, as to quash this investiga- 
tion, no matter by what means: and next to this circum- 
stance, the non-attendance of a single witnes.s, named by 
liim, to support the prosecution, would be most accepta- 
ble; because, the first incident, would save him from au 
impending load of infamy, and the second, would enable 
him, with the facility of his terrific pen, to brand the whole 
proceedings, of this honourable board, with mockery? 
and to impute to the government, prejudice on one side, 
and partiality on the other; I do therefore, most earnest- 
ly entreat this honourable court, to drag before it, every 
witness, who has been required by my accuser, and par- 

TlCUIiARLY MaJOR-GENERAI ScOTT, BrIGADIER-GE- 

nerals swartwout and swiet, and coxonel j. b. 

Walbach. 

« With perfect respect, I am, 
« Sir, your obedient servant, 

** JAMES WILKINSON. 

« The Hon. Maj. Gen, Dearborn, President of the 
General Court Martial, in session at Troy.^^ 

The court, thereupon, directed the judge advocate, to 
comply with tlie requisites of the law, respecting his ab- 
sent witnesses, and adjourned to the 21st, at 10 o'clock, 
A. M.] 

«I, David Buel junior, counsellor at law, do hereby 
certify, that Major-general Wilkinson, requested and 
obtained leave of the court martial, to reduce the argu- 
ments, and authorities, advanced and cited by him, in op- 
position to a motion made, by the judge advocate, for 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 33 

postponing his trial, to writing, for the purpose of their CHAP, 
being inserted in the minutes of the court. That Gene- ^^^.^^_, 
ral Wilkinson accordingly addressed to General Dear- 
born a letter, containing the arguments and authorities 
which were urged hy him^ and I verily believe the paper 
hereto annexed, is a copy of the letter, which General W. 
wrote on that occasion ; and that the arguments and au- 
thorities contained therein, are the same which were offer- 
ed to the court by General Wilkinson. 

«* DAVID BUEL, Juiv. 
" Troy, ISth Sejit. 1815.'- 

Troij, January Mst, 1815, 

The court convened pursuant to adjournment. 

The principal witnesses relied on, for the support of 
the prosecution against, the accused, being still absent, 
and the judge advocate, having det lined an ex ^Siination 
of such witnesses as were i)resent on other charges, the Court fur» 

' iher ad- 

court adjourned to Monday, 23d January, 10 o'clock. journed 

Troy, January 23d, 1815. 

The court convened as before, hut owing to the absence 

of Colonel »Sc/mi/ie?^ necessarily prevented from attending, 

it adjourned to Tuesday, the 24tli January, 10 o'clock, 

A.M. 

Troy, January 9,4th, 1815. 

The court convened pursuant to adjournment. 

In conformity to a previous inti 'nation* from the court, 
suggesting the propriety of complying witli all legal for- 
malities, as a s.xn tion for permitting further delays, on 
account of the absf^nrc of roaterial witnesses; the judge 
advocate produced the following affidavit: 

« State o/JVew Fork, ss. 
"Evert A. Banck^r doth depose and say, vhat from a 
list oj witnesses and papers furnished him by the war de- 

* This intimation was an order of the court, founded on General 
Wilkinson's application of the 19th Januarv, *Ml^ 

VOL. lU. E 



34? MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, partment relative to the trial of Major-general Wilkin- 
'■ son, he is informed, and verily believes, that Major-ge- 
jiidffe ad- NERAL ScoTT, and Brigadier-general Boyd, are 
vocate's material witnesses to the 1st and 2d specifications of 
asto^ab. charge 1st; that the said Brigadier-generai Boyd is 
sence of also a material witness, to the 5th and 7th specifications 
witaesses. ^^ ^''*^ same charge. That the above named Major-ge- 
neral Scott is further a material witness to the 1st spe- 
cification of the 2d charge. 

" And the said deponent is informed from the same 
source, and verily believes, that Major-general Brown 
is a material witness to the 5d, 4th, 5th, and 6th specifi- 
cations of charge 2d. — Brigadier-general Svvart- 
AVorT to the 3d, 4tb, 5th, and 6th specifications of charge 
1st, and to the 1st specification of charge 2d.' — Major- 
general Macomb, to the 2d and 6th specifications of 
the 1st charge. — Brigadier-general Swift, to the 
6th specification of the 1st, and the 1st specification of 
the 2d, charges.— That Major-general Gaines, Bri- 
gadier-general Ripley, Colonels Clark, Wal- 
rach and King, Lieutenant-colonel Chambers 
and Major Nelson, are all witnesses to certain of the 
specifications against the said Major-general Wilkinson, 
and as all the before named witnesses are absent, this de- 
ponent has reason to believe, that he cannot safely pro- 
ceed to trial, witljout them. And this deponent, doth 
further say, that with the exception of Major-generals 
Brown, Scott, Macomb and Gaines, Colonel Clark and 
Lieutenant-colonel Chambers, the before named witnes- 
ses, were, by the department of war, notified to attend. 
That it was by the adjutant and inspector-general, inti- 
mated to this deponent, that if the oflicers last named, 
were required to be summoned, it would be done from 
his oflice. That this deponent did, accordingly, before 
tlie meeting of the court at this place, desire that Major- 
generals Brown and Scott might be notified, and has 
since the court convened, repeated the request, and also 
applif^d for t!ie attendance of p.11 oflicers M'ho are absent, 
^Ifm ami judged to be material witnesses. That by direction 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 30 

of the court, during the preceding week, he has sent sum- chap. 
monses to all the absentees, whose residence is known, '• 
urging their immediate attendance. 

"EVERT A. BANCKER." 

"Sworn to this 24th day of January, 18i5, before me, 
" D. SOUTHWICK, J^ot. Puh." 

The deposition having been read, Major-general Wil- 
kinson made the following application. 

" Troy, Januarij 2Uh, 1815. 

" Sir, 

*' I request that application may be made to the proper General 

authority, for the following orders, issued by John Arm- son's ap- 

strong esq. late secretary of war, to be laid before this plication, 

court, the same being necessary to my vindication, against issued by 

the hiah crimes with which I have been accused, vi^si, secretary 

Arm- 
it 1st. — The orders directing Major-general Hampton, strong-. 

to command in military district, No. 9. 

** 2d. — The orders given to the said Hampton, by the 
said Armstrong, after he, the said Armstrong, entered 
the said district, in August, 1813 j and during las conti- 
nuance within the same. 

a 3(J. — The orders of the said Armstrong, to Major- 
general Harrison, during the said period. 

a 4th. — The orders of the said Armstrong, to Briga- 
dier-general Broun, during the same period. 

t( 5th. — The orders of the said Armstrong, to Colonel 
Thomas A. Smith, during the same period. 

<( 6th. — The orders of the said Armstrong, to Briga- 
dier-general Robert Svvartwout, quarter-master general, 
during the same period. 

it 7th. — The orders of the said Armstrong, to Doctor 
James Tilton, physician and surgeon-general, during the 
same period. 

i( 8th. — The orders of the said Armstrong, to Doctor 
Francis Le Baron, apothecary-general, during the same 
period. 



S6 



MT:Moms BY 



CHAP. 

I. 



« 9th. — The orders of the said Armstrong, to Elbert 
Anderson, esq. contractor, and his agent, during the 
same period. 

« lOtli. — The orders of the said Armstrong, to Mat- 
ther Irwin, esq. assistant commissary of purchases, du- 
ring the same period. 

« With perfect respect, I am. Sir, 
« Your obedient servant, 

"JAMES WILKINSON. 

^< The Hon. Major-general Dearbornf 

President of a General Court MartiaV^ 



Judge ad- 
vocate's 
opposition 
to the ap- 
plication. 



Decision 
of the 
courts 



Judge ad- 
vocate 
again de- 
clines pro- 
ceeding. 



The judge advocate opposed the application on the 
ground, 1st, that the documents required, were foreign 
to the matter in issue, and could not, if produced, ope- 
rate as a justification or defence. 

2d. That the papers called for, were not suificientJy 
designated, nor is it made to appear, in what respect 
they are material. 

Alter some discussion, the court was cleared, and 
having maturely considered the question, decided, 

Th.tt application be made to the secretary of war to 
transmit to this court, the several dot uments enumerated 
by the accused, to be produced as evidence in his de- 
fence. 

The judge advocate, declining to proceed with the 
trial, on account of the absence of the principal wit- 
nesses; the court adjourned to the 26th of January in- 
stant, 10 o'clock. 



Troy, January Q6thf 1815. 
The court convened pursuant to adjournment. 
For the same reasons as before, the court adjourned 
to Friday, the 2rth instant, 11 o'clock, A. M. 



Colonel 
Br. ;irley's 
indisposi- 
tion. 



Troy, January 2Tth, 1815. 
The court convened pursuant to adjournment. 
Colonel Brearly being prevented by indisposition from 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 37 

attending; — on account of deficiency of memberSf the roiirt chap, 
adjourned to Monday the 30th instant, 11 o'clock, A. M. ^' 

Troy, January SOth, 1815. 
The court convened pursuant to adjournment, hut on 
accoimt of the continued indisposition of Colonel Brearly, 
adjourned to Tuesday, the 31st instant, 10 o'clock, A. M. 



X 



38 MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP. 
II. 



CHAPTER II. 

Judge Jldvocate produces General Scott and General Ma- 
comb* s letters; and a letter from the Inspector Sf Adjutant 
General, to account for the absence of Generals Scott, 
Gaines, and Smith, Colonel Freston, and Major JVel- 
son. — Judge Advocate proceeds with the examination of 
witnesses. — Examination of Brigadier-general Robert 
Sxvartwout, ^uarter-master-general, commences. — Pro- 
duces General Wilkinson^s letter, to himself, of August 
25th, 1813, respecting the mounting of the dragoons, and 
the suppltj of water transjwrt for 7000 men, two month's 
provision, artillery, camp equipage, ^-c. — Affair of pick- 
ets, on the lOth JVov. — (Quarter-master -generaUs ac- 
count of the battle. — His estimate of the enemy's force. 
— ^His accurate knowledge of events. — States an extra- 
ordinary conversation, which he pretends passed between 
General Wilkinson and himself. < — His cross examination 
commences. His ignorance of the duties of his station ma- 
nifested. — Evasive answer to 10th Question. — Further 
proofs of his incompetency. — The Secretary of War's im- 
proper interference. The (luarter-master-generafs rea- 
sons, why a movement might have been made down the 
St. Lawrence, on the 10th. — His evidence, respecting his 
resignation, contrasted with Major Rees's. — The Quarter- 
master-general votes for the continuation of the expedition, 
in the exjiectation of a junction of General Hampton' s force. 
> — Secretary of War's further interference, by his letter, or- 
dering the Quarter -master to erect huts for 10,000 men in 
Canada. — The ^narter-master-general, unequal to the 
duties of that station, seeks, and through the interest of 
the Secretary of War, obtains the additional employment 
of Brigadier-general, for which he was equally unfit. — 
Colonel King's examination commences. — Is sent by Ge- 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 39 

neral Hampton, with a communication to the Secretanj of 
War, at Sackett's Harbour. — Is induced to seek an inter- 
view with General Wilkinson. — Hia character of the 
troops engaged on the Chateaitgay. — Proves General 
Hampton remonstrated against being under the command 
of General Wilkinson. — Correspondence between Secreta- 
nj of War and General Hampton, respecting General 
Wilkinson's command, referred to. — His impressions, that 
on the junction of the armies, General Wilkinson was 
to hare the command — Colonel King^s conversation with 
the Secretary of War, who blames General Wilkinson, but 
acquits General Hampton of censure. 

Troy, January Slst, 1815. CHAP. 
The court convened pursuant to adjournment. v-^^-v-n*^ 

The judge advocate having by order of the court, on 
the 17th of January inst. made application to the war 
departnii'nt, for the attendance of certain witnesses, ma- 
terial to the snppnrt of the prosecution, and having sub- 
sequently sent an olBcial summons, to the respective offi- 
cers, whose attendance was required, now produced and 
read communications from Major-generals Scott and Ma- 
comh, stating, 

" Tliat the exigencies of the service, demanded their 
presence at their several stations, and would prevent 
their attendance pursuant to notice." 



[I regret that I should, in this place, be obliged to sup- 
ply an essential omission, of the judge advocate, by the 
introduction of the letters, of Genei-als Scott and Ma- 
comb, to which he barely alludes^ and, I trust, I shall be 
excused a few remarks, applirable to those officers, who 
had been summoned as witnesses. 

"When the life or character of a citizen is jeopardized, 
can it be reconciled, to the rights of humanity, the prin- 
ciidcs of justice, maxims of law. or to ordinary judicial 



4*0 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, proecedings, to withhold from him, testimony material to 
'^^' his justification? The question is a solemn one; it inte- 
rests every man's rights, and reaches every man's safe- 
ty ; I, therefore, appeal for an answer, to the intelli- 
gence, integrity, and patriotism of the country. The case 
has occurred, as will be apparent, from the following 
facts, verified by the letters in question. 

I had been arrested, by President Madison, to gratify 
the personal policy, and vindictive passions, of his secre- 
tary of war, General Armstrong; but, when I demanded 
Generals Scott and Macomb, as mateiial witnesses in the 
cause, they were refused under pretexts of public duty; 
Macomb, in the dead of an incletnent winter, the troops 
in quarters, and all things tranquil, was deemed neces- 
sary to defend the fortifications, at Plattsburgh, although 
Colonel Melacton Smith, was on the spot, who, witliout 
disparagement, if danger had occurred, was as compe- 
tent to meet it, as the general himself: Scott, one of the 
secret informers, who had been instrumental to my ar- 
rest, to which, I am assured, Mr. Madison was privy, 
anticipating the consequences of an enquiry, had con- 
trived to load himself with duties, wliich he assigns as a 
reason, for not confronting the man, wiiom he had vilely 
calumniated, and whose eye he has never dared to meet; 
the acquiescence of the secretary of w ar, who had become 
subservient to Scott's intrigues, followed as a necessary 
consequence. 

Having discussed this subject freely in the first vo- 
lume, I shall here dismiss it, with an explicit declara- 
tion: That I desired the parole testimony of General 
Macomb, not only, respecting the operations of the cam- 
paign, 1813, but to my general comiuct as a military 
officer, with which, he was intimately acquainted; and I 
was extremely solicitous to drag Scott before the court, 
that I might Iiave an opportunity, to detect his slanders, 
unmask the impostor, and expose to the world, the pain- 
ful truth, that animal courage and personal honour arc 
not always allied. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 41 

CHAP. 

*< Head Qiiarters, Plattshurghf Jan 2Bth, 1815. "• 

«< Sir, 

« I have the honour to arknowledge the receipt of your General 
iu)te by last mail, requiring my presem e, as a witness, j^t'^^gr"^ ** 
before the general court martial, now sitting at Troy. 

<* I regret, that such is the situation of this frontier, 
and such the instructions of the secretary of war, that I • 

am not at liberty, to leave the post, to appear before the 
court* 

" With perfect respect, I am. Sir, 
*« Your obedient servant, 

« ALEX. MACOMB. 
^< M. A. Bancker, Judge Advocate^ 
Troy:' 

tfHead Quarters, 11th ^ lOtfi Military Dist. 
Baltimore, Jan. 25th, ±815. 
« Sir, 

<< I have this moment received your note of the 18th General 
inst. (by the way of Philadelphia,) requesting my atten- letter. 
dance at Troy, (N. Y.) as a witness, on the trial of 
Major-general Wilkinson ; to which you add, * the court 
is prevented from proceeding, for the want of my testimony.* 
<» I am now, for the first time, informed, (officially) 
that I was considered a witness in that case, not having 
received any previous notice to that effect. 

*« Please inform the general court martial, of which 
you are the judge advocate, tliat I am, at this moment, 
tiie president of a military board, sitting in this place, 
and have just received a wanvi^nt, to hold a court of en- 
quiry (to sit to-morrow) in the case of a general officer 
of the army. It will, therefore, be impossible for me, to 
attend the general court martial, now sitting at Troy, 
(without special orders from the war department) in the 
next one or two months. 

« Respectfully your obedient servant, 

« W. SCOTT. 
*f E. A. Bancker, Army Judge Advocate."] 
vol. Ill, F 



4a MEMOIRS BY 

CH\P. The juAge advocate also submitted a letter from the 
*'• adjutant and inspector general, an extract from wliich, 
relating to the same points, is as follows. 

(( Mjutant ^ Inspector General's Office* 
January 23d, 1815. 
« Sir, 
Adjutant " Your letter of the 17th inst. has been received, and 
anti m- ^^^ j^^.^j^ jj^j^j i,pfQj.c t},e secretary of war. He has been 

spector- •' 

general's s ' niuch indisposed, that I have not been able to see him. 

i^^^^is?^'^ I have, however, according to his directions, tliis day is- 
sued orders to Major-general Brown; Brigadier-gene- 
rals Ripley, Boyd, Swift, and Swartwout ; Colonels King 
and Walbach, and Lieutenant-colonel Cliambers, to re- 
pair to Troy, as soon as practicable. The other officers 
named in your letter, cannot attend. 

« Generals Scott, Gaines, and Smith, arc on duty from 
which they cannot be taken, — Major Nelson is sick in 
Virginia. — Colonel Preston has arrived at this place, on 
his way, but is too feeble to complete the journey." 

In consequence of the arrival of Brigadier-generals 
Swartwout and Boyd, witnesses in support of the charges; 
the judge advocate declared his readiness, to proceed 
with the trial, and accordingly 
Bri^ Gen. ROBERT SWARTWOUT, quarter-master-general 
wout'^s ^^ t'*® United States army, was produced, sworn, and ex- 
testimony, amined as a witness on the part of the prosecution, and 
testified, 

That in the summer and autumn, of 1813, he was 
attached to the United States army, as quarter-master- 
general, and was stationed at Sackett's Harbour, from 
the middle of July, to the 22d, or 23d, of October, (with 
the exception of four or five weeks of that period). That 
on the 20th or 22d of August, Major-general AVilkinson 
assumed the command, at the above post; subsequently 
on the 2d or 3d of September, met the witness by ap- 
pointment at Genesee River, and afterwards proceeded 
to Fort George, from whence he returned to Sackett's 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 4«d 

Harbour, on the 4th of October. The witness stated, chap. 
that on account of the multiplicity of his engagements, he 
could not be very precise as to dates, without referi'ing 
to his papers, he having been for days, and weeks, 

DURING THIS PERIOD, THAT HE DID NOT KNOW THE 
DAY OF THE MONTH, OR OF THE WEEK.* That about 

ten days, or a fortnight, after seeing General Wilkinson 
at Genesee, the witness reached Sackett's Harbour, hav- 
ing previously provided transportation for the troops, 
then at Fort George, which he presumes was not in rea- 
diness, until the 20th of September. That between the 
last mentioned date, and the 4tli of October, the w^^ather 
was generally favourable, for an expedition in boats on 
the lake. That in the month of September, while Gene- 
ral Wilkinson continued at Fort George, he transmitted 
orders to Sackett's Harbour, directing arrangements to 
be made for an expedition ; and the witness received from 
him, a letter, dated 17th September, relating to bis par- 
ticular department, in the words and figures following : 

**Fort George, September 17, 1813. 
« Sir, 

«' Your letter, of the 12th, from Oswego, was faithful- General 
ly delivered by the rider, Mr. 0. Smith, in the twilight soi's i^t- 
of the 15th ; and I have detained him until this day, wait- ter of I7th 
ing with anxiety for some information from our squad- ^^ ' 
ron, but without effect. We have as yet no boats from 
Psvvego; those from Genesee arrived last evening, and 
are engaged. In defect of transport, we must forage 
upon the enemy. I arrived here early the day after we 
parted, more dead than alive; and it was not until to-day, 
I have been able to abandon my pallet. Do aU you have 

* The world, certainly, can require, no stronger evidence, of the 
quarter-master-general's utter incapacity, to discharge the functions, 
of his all-important station, than the declaration of the t^rntleman him- 
self; and, thus, at the threshold of the enquiry, we have the best tes- 
timony, of the incompetency of the means, provided by the secretary 
of war, General Armstrong, for the accomplishment of a complex, cri. 
tica), and difficult military operation. 



m MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, been ordered to do, and as much more as you may deem 
useful and necessary, to the public service. 

« With consideration and respect, 
« I am. Sir, yours, *cc. 

«* JAMES WILKINSON. 
fi Brig. Gen, Swarhvout, Q. M. Gen." 

« When the army of the lake is embodied, your station 
becomes adjunct to head quarters — for your government. 

«J. W.'» 

" The inclosed will convey some idea, of the derange- 
ment and distractions, in the transport service. The same 
vessels, employed to bring the public clothing here from 
Oswego, must be directly engaged to carry it back. 

«a. W." 

Pursuant to orders, previously received from General 
Wilkinson, the witness provided boats and other trans^ 
portation, adequate to the removal of General' Lewis's 
division of the army, by the 1st of October. The prepa- 
rations for this purpose, however, were not quite com- 
plete, until the 4th, when all was in readiness, and some 
of the provisions actually embarked. Between the 1st 
and 4th of October, Major-general Lewis commanding, 
issued a general order, respecting the embarkation of his 
division, for Grenadier Island. On General Wilkinson's 
arrival, other orders were issued by him, a irtually coun- 
termanding the preceding. New dispositions were by 
him made, with the reasons of which, the witness was 
not acquainted; but he believes, caused a delay of four 
OP $ve days, in the movements of the army, until the 
commeneement of a storm, wliich lasted six or seven 
days longer ; and was so boisterous, as to prevent all na- 
vigation on the lake, (he believed) three or four days 
after thi' storm ceased, the embarkation actually took 
place, and the expedition proceeded for Grenadier Island, 
distant eighteen miks. He added, that the storm did 
not mateiially, injure the boats assigned to General 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 45 

Lewis's division, and immediately after its termination, chap. 
the latter were in reailiness to have effected the removal. 

That on the 22d or 23d of October, the witness repair- 
ed to Grenadier Island, General Wilkinson having 
reached it the day previous. He there found the divi- 
sion of the army from Sackett's Harbour, and also, that 
from Fort George ; some three or four hundred might 
perbaps have been absent. 

In the passage from the Harbour to Grenadier Island, 
four or five scov\s with heavy artillery, were stranded, 
one or two of which were lost : and these, with the loss 
of five or six boats, caused a dclav of two days. Many 
boats, also, after reaching the Island, required repairs, 
and about two days were occupied for this purpose. 
These might have been simultaneous with the peri(»d, in 
which the stranded scows were refitted j but on this 
point, he could not speak with certainty. The witness 
further remarked, that according to his calculation, one- 
thir'd of the transports, were lost in tlie passagi- from 
Fort George, and on this account it became necessary to 
embark troops on board of provision vessels. After the 
repairs of tiie boats, an additional delay of two or three 
days was occasioned by the bad weather. In fact, the 
season was so far advanced, that tbere was scarcely a 
day, fit for moving on the lake with safety in boats. 

Immediately after the storm, General Brown's brigade 
and some other corps, having more large boats than the 
other brigades, embarked and proceeded to French 
Cieek. The same day, Generals Covington and Boyd's 
followed, but were obliged to put back on account of the 
weather. 

The witness could not recollect, whether the remain- 
der of the trooops, and transports were ready for sail- 
ing, when General Brown left the Island," but two days 
after, having been delayed until then, by bad weather, 
they departed in detachments j and in his opininn, the 
expedition sailed from Grenadier Island, after its orga- 
nization, as soon as the weather permitted. The corps 
of artillery, was commanded by Brigadier-general Por- 



4L6 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, ter, and was not to his knowledge, embarked and again 
disembarked, at Grenadier Island. 

After leaving the latter place, the first point of gene- 
ral rendezvous, was at French Creek, where the witness 
arrived with the rear brigade, about 11 o'clock, on the 
morning, of the 1st of November; the army remained 
there two or three days, during winch time. Colonel 
Randolph joined with his regiment from Oswego ; but 
whether this regiment, had halted at Grenadier Island^ 
the witness was not informed. During the stay, at 
French Creek, the weather was favourable for sailing; 
the boats in order, and competent for the removal of the 
forces; and the witness was not aware of any obstacle to 
prevent tlieir movement. 

On the 4th or 5th November, the army departed from 
French Creek, halted about 12 o'clock at night, six 
miles above Ogdensburgh ; and the ensuing morning, 
orders Were issued by General Wilkinson, respecting 
the passing of Prescott, a fortified place on the Canada 
shore. The troops during this day continued stationary, 
and about 9 o'clock at night, proceeded by land, leaving 
in the boats a sutfirient number to row them. The boats 
started about 2 o'clock in the morning, and reached the 
place of general rendezvous, four or five miles below 
Ogdensburgh, before his brigade arrived ; this had halt- 
ed some hours, between two and three miles below Og- 
densburgh ; and the witness came up about 8 o'clock. 

At the poi]it last indicated, they continued encamped, 
until near evening; a detention occasioned, in part, by 
the loss of an ammunition boat, which had put into Og- 
densburgh.* To secure this, he returned with the 21st 
regiment of infantry, to that place the ensuing night, and 
effected his object. The artificers, during this day, were 
also employed in making large oars, for steering the 
boats through the rapids. The army next halted at the 
White House, twenty miles below Ogdensburgh; at this 

* The witness meant Oswegatchie creek, at the upper side of Og- 
densburgh. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. f7 

jtiare, the witness arrived at 11 o'clock in the morning, chap 
of the second day after passing Prescott. He there found "^ 
the main body, and saw the dragoons and light artillery, 
engaged in crossing the St. Lawrence, to the Canada 
shoie, by means of the large scows appropriated to the 
artillery, which had been disiMnbarked for that purpose, 
and afterwards again embarked. Whether the main 
body crossed from the White House, to the opposite 
shore, the day last mentioned, or the following morning, 
he could not state; but the different brigades proceeded 
by land and water, regulating their movements by each 
other; and, after an advance of fifteen miles (as far as 
they could reasonably march) halted for the night at 
Chrystler's. 

The next morning, at day light, General Brown's 
brigade was detached in advance, with some other corps, 
down the river. About 8 o'clock, the remaining troops 
on shore, were on their march, and within half an hour 
after, the rear was fired on by the enemy. Various ac- 
counts were brought, concerning their force; the boats 
which had previously sailed were remanded; the dra- 
goons were detached to reconnoitre ; the army counter-- 
marched in pursuit of the enemy ; and after spending the 
w hole day in marches and countermarches, halted for the 
night within a trifling distance of the place of their last 
encampment. 

The court adjourned to Wednesday, the 21st of Fe- 
bruary, 1815, 10 o'clock, A. M. 

Trotj, February Isf, 1815. 

The court convened pursuant to adjournment. 

The examination of Brigadier-general Swartwont be- 
ing resumed, he testified that he heard, he thinks on the 
9th of November, from Major Brown, of the enemy's 
approach in the rear; and that they had landed at Pres- 
cott, from 26 to 30 hours after our army had passed. He 
does not knov\ whether General Wilkinson received this 
account, nor whether measures were ever taken by him, 
to ascertain the e^aemy's force ; neither can he state the 



48 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, mimber of our troops, after General Brown was detach^ 
^'" ed, nor of the enemy. No measures were taken, to the 
knowledge of the witness, to procure the co-operation of 
General Brown's brigade, in case of necessity. After 
the firing on the 10th, a variety of dispositions were made 
to meet the enemy; but they could not be found, nor 
could their numbers be ascertained j whether they were 
one hundred, or one thousand. Nothing occurred during 
the day, but some affairs of pickets. On the night of the 
10th, the army halted on nearly the same ground, as on 
the preceding; there could not have been a difference, 
exceeding two miles. It rained incessantly, and the troops 
lay on their arms, but were not encamped. 

On the morning of the 10th, the witness was of opi- 
nion, that the army might have moved on, towards the 
advanced corps under General Brown, without any ma- 
terial obstruction from the enemy in the rear. 
AfTaii- of At reveille, or shortly after, on the morning of the 
picke.s. j^^Ij ^^ November, there was an affair of pickets. The 
army was then put in motion, to follow General Brown, 
The brigade commanded by the witness, advanced half a 
mile, when it halted, by order of General Boyd, then 
commanding on siiore. During its march, there was oc- 
casional firing, but scattered and distant. 

The witness also testified, that he did not see General 
"Wilkinson on the morning of the 11th, but presumes he 
was on board his boat: that his brigade, after halting 
fifteen or twenty minutes, was ordered back, and march- 
ed until it occupied the ground, it did the preceding 
evening. At this place the main body halted, distant 
as he presumes, about four hundred yards, from the 
boats, and was near them, as the nature of the ground 
would permit; but, after the action commenced, the 
boats were sent several hundred yards down the river 
for safety. In the mean time, the dragoons were out re- 
connoitring; and various reports were made to General 
Boyd, who commanded. Between 11 and 12 o'clock, it 
still raining, but not so hard as before. General Boyd 
ordered hiia with his brigade, to pass through a copse of 



GENERAL ^VILKINSON. *9 

wood on the ri.e:lit, seek the enemy, and figlit himi he chap. 
accordingly sought,* found, and fought him. The num- 
ber of the enemy, who shewed tliemselves on that day, q ,.^y^^^, 
amounted to the best of hi-s Jtidgment, to 2500 men. The »>'aster-^ 
brigacU^s commanded by Generals Boyd and Covingt(m, acconnt of 
foHowed liim, iu succession, and co-operated against the ^he battle. 
enemy. Tlie number of infantry belonging to the three His estl- 
brigades, according to the best computation, was about f^g^u^. 
1700. At the close of the action, and after part of our beisofthe 
troops had retired, by order of General Boyd, a reinforce- ^"^'"^' 
jnent amounting, as he understood, to about 400 men, 
commanded by Colonel Upham, came up, and were par- 
tially engaged. During the engagement, ]>art of his bri- 
gade, ha\ing expended their ammunition, retired to a 
ravine, where they were replenished, and again joined 
the action 5 but he does not know, whether any of the 
other troops were in the same predicament. 

The enemy were driven back about a mile and a half, 
to their strong ground, where was a reserve of 700 men, 
who had not been engaged; and our troops, after fight- 
ing them two hours and a half, retired. Ihe witness The qoar 
further stated, that he does not know, whethei' any of '^^''""^'^f,'^^ 

. 'J generals 

our troops were taken prisoners, except some wounded accurate 
othcers and men ; nor except by report, whether we lost jed^l of 
^ny artillery. events, 

,Un being asked, by whom the dispositions for tliis en- 
gagement were made? he stated, that Geneial Boyd was 
the senior ofncer on shore, and commanded; that he did 
not see General Wilkinson on shore, during the morn- 
ing, nor does he know of any orde^rs having been re- 
ceived from him. After the action, the troops, by direc- 
tion of General Boyd, I'etired and formed in order of 
battle, on nearly the same ground they occupied the pre- 
ceding evening, and continued there an hour. The in- 
fantry and heavy artillery, then received orders to em- 
bark, and between 4 and 5 o'clock in the afternoon pass^ 

* Veni, vidi, vici '. ! ! 
VOL. III. G 



50 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, ed over to the American side, at the head of the Long 
^*' Saiit. The dragoons and light artillery, who had been 
engaged with General Boyd, were ordered to advance on 
the Canada side, and form a junction wilh General Brown 
at Barnhart's. The next morning, the main body pass- 
ed down the Saut, crossed to the Canada side, and also 
joined the corps of General Brown. None of the enemy 
(to his knowledge) made their appearance, while the 
army was at Barnhart's; but orders were there given for 
recrossing to the American sidej and in the afternoon 
and night of the 12th, the dragoons and artillery horses 
passed over. On the morning of the 13th, the main body 
reembarked, and proceeded to French Mills, where they 
went into winter quarters. 

On being asked, whether General Wilkinson's orders 
from Fort George, designated Grenadier Island as the 
place of rendezvous for the army? the witness stated, 
that he received no such order. 

He further testified, that he furnished boats, and other 
transportation for the provisions, and hospital stores of 
the army; the storage and embarkation of which was ma- 
naged under his direction, by officers of his department. 
After their embarkation he had no particular charge of 
them ; and the hospital stores were then under the care 
of the hospital department. 
The quar- Some of the provisions thus embarked, were lost and 
ter-gene- Wasted in the passage from Sackett's Harbour down the 
ral com- St, Lawrence; they were frequently left on shore by offi- 
Gener'al " ^"^i'^ ^^ the line, having charge of the boats. This orcur- 
Wilkin- red, continually, at the various points of landing, between 
specting Sackett's Harbour and French Mills. It was a subject 
the de- of continual complaint, from the contractor, and the de- 
of provi-' ponent having witnessed the depredations, had a special 
sions, and conference with General Wilkinson, in which he protest- 

tlic Gcnc- 

ral's an- ^'^ against such procedures; and requested him to issue 

swer f^n order to prevent the destruction, and obliging the offi- 

rers to take care of them. General Wilkinson replied 

iHtiiiiWaUy, that the contractors were bound to lake 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 51 

care of the provisions, and that it was not the duty of the CHAP^ 
officers of the army, to take charge of them; no further ^^ 
conversation passed on the subject. 

The witness also stated, that the provisions which ac- 
companied tlie expedition were United States property, 
and had been receipted for by the quarter-master's de- 
partment. That the contractor's agent accompanied the 
expedition, received from the witness, the provisions as 
a deposit on account of the United States, and was there- 
fore merely an issuing commissary. Tlie loss, if any oc- 
curred, was to be sustained by the United States. 

The witness on being asked, if there was a council of 
war held in the vicinity of the village of Hamilton; re- 
plied that there was an assemblage of the principal offi- 
cers, on board of General Wilkinson's vessel above the 
White House; but has no recollection, tliat General Wil- 
kinson proposed to them, to discontinue the expedition. 

He proceeded to testify, that he received from General 
Wilkinson, ou the day of its date, the original of the fol- 
lowing letter. 

« Head Quarters, SackeWs Harbour f 
Mgust 2S, 1813. 

•< Sir, 

*< I beg leave to reiterate, the verbal orders given you Produces 
some days since, for mounting the whole of the dragoons, P^"^^* 
with the utmost despatch. An officer or officers of that son's let- 
corps, must attend your agents, to superintend these pur- ^y' ^i8l3, 
chases; and you will be pleased to apply to Major Luckett 
on the subject. 

« To my order of the 22d inst. respecting the provid- 
ing of water transport, suitable to navigate shoal and 
rapid streams; I will now add my desu'e, that it should 
be made, amply sufficient to bear 7000 men with their 
camp equipage, baggage, clothing, &c. two months pro- 
visions, about 20 battering cannon, and 40 field pieces 
with equipments, and 300 rounds of ammunition each ; 
together with the stores ^and attiral of the ordnance, 



5S MEMOIRS BY 

CH\P. quarter-master's, medical and other departments, essen- 
tial to the accommodation and comfort of an armument, 
destined to invade a hostile country; of this transport, a 
sufficient quantity to receive five thousand njen, and the 
appendages and appurtenances herein enumerated, should 
be held in readiness at Niagara, the 10th of next month; 
and the residue at this place, by the 15th, at furthest. 
*• With much consideration and respect, 
<< 1 am. Sir, your obedient servant, 
"JAMES WILKINSON, 

** Major-general, commanding. 
i< Brig. Gen. Swartwoiitf Q. J\I. Gen^" 

«' I certify the above to be a true copy of the original 
in possession of Brigadier-general Swartwout, Q. M. 
Gen. 

« SMITH COE, 29f/t Inf. 
(( Plattsbnrglh 22d Feb. 1814." 

Shortly before the expedition sailed from Sackett's 
Harbour, General Wilkinson applied to the witness for 
the foregoing document to copy, and return it to him. 

After the expedition had terminated, he a second time, 
applied for it at Plattsburgh, on the 21st of February, 
1814, munitioning at tl»e same time, that it was the only 
important paper, of which he had not a copy ; and that 
by some mistake, none had been taken, or if taken was 
lost. The witness promised to send it to him; he accord- 
ingly searched, found the order, and on tlie 22d Februa- 
ry, in the afternoon, as he was enclosing it in a note, 
GtMieral Wilkinscm's orderly entered with a note, of little 
importance, addressed to him ; the witness requested the 
orderly to wait, as he had a communication to make to 
General Wilkinson; he accordingly enclosed, sealed, and 
sent it by the messenger. The same evening, while on 
fL visit at Judge De Lord's, General Wilkinson's head 
quai'tej-s, his aid. Captain M'Pherson, came from an 
upper room, the witness asked him, if he had copied the 
order, as lie would then take back the original, Captain 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 53 

M'PIierson replied, that he had not time to copy it, hut chap. 
would do so, and send him the original next morning. *' 
Between 8, and 9, the ensuing morning, the witness re- 
ceived a note from General Wilkinson, requesting him to 
send the order lie had promised. Astonished at the corj- 
tents, he called immediately upon the General, and after 
the latter had breakfasted, shewed him the note, express- 
ed his astonishment at it; stated what had passed the 
evening before, between him and Captain M'Pherson, 
and looking steadily in his fare, said emphatically, " By Military 
God ! General Wilkinson that order is in this f^o^^a^^ 
HOUSE."* General Wilkinson expressed his regret, that q larter- 
he could not find it, but did not acknowledge, he had re- general to 
ceived it. He observed, that he would give one hundred 'itomman. 
guineas to have it, and appeared as much interested in chief. 
the loss as the witness. Nothing more passed at this 
time, and no other person was present. The witness 
added, that after the preceding conversation with Gene- 
ral Wilkinson, he called two or three times on Captain 
M'Pherson, but could not see him. On the 24th of the 
same month, he left Plattsburgh for Washington by per- 
mission of General Wilkinson. 

The court adjourned to Thursday, the 2d February, 
1815, at 10 o'clock, A. M. 

Troy, February 2tl, 1815. 

The court convened pursuant to adjournnjent. 

The examination, of Brigadier-general Swartwout, be- 
ing continued; he deposed. 

That he had enclosed no other onler to General Wil- 
kinson, at the time last stated, to which. Captain M'Pher- 
son could have alluded. That he had shewn to the for- 
mer, one or two other orders, but he observed those were 
not the right ones. It was the order for mounting the 
dragoons, and furnishing the transportation he wished. 

• It would be uncharitable, to give the quarter-master-general ere- 
dit, in this instance though on his oath, indeed, by his answer, to the 
Srth question, on his cross-examination, he forbids the world to do sg. 



04 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. The witness further testified, that in the crening of 



II, 



the 6th of November, between 7 and 8 o'clock, he saw 
General Wilkinson in his barge, about twenty yards dis- 
tant, moving along the line of boats, prepared for passing 
Prescottj he came up, within twenty or twenty -five yards 
of tlie witness's boat, hailed him, presumed every thing 
was prepared, and wished a safe passage to him and the 
army. 

Questions by the Judge Advocate, 

1st ^. — Did you notice any thing unusual in his con- 
duct at this time ? 

^. — No, Sir. 

Q(l q, — Did you notice any marks of intemperance ? 

^. — No, Sir. It was impossible to discover any thing 
of this kind ; it was after dark, and his boat not nearer 
than twenty or twejity-five yards. 

Stl q, — Was there any thing unusual in his voice ? 

A. — Tljere was not. 

4th q. — Did you see him at any other time, during the 
evening? 

J. — I did not. 

5th q Did you see him, on the morning of the 7th, 

after passing Prescott ? 

A. — I saw him about from 10 to 12 o'clock, below Og- 
densburgh, on board of his boat. 

6th q. — Did you see any marks of intemperance at 
this time ? 

J. — None at all; he was sick. 

7th Q. — Was there a skirmish with the enemy, on the 
morning of the 9th of November? 

*3. — I do not recollect that there was. 

Sth q. — Do you recollect what day, the enemy's gal- 
lies came up, and harassed our rear? 

A I think it was the 10th of November. 

9th q. — Had it been in contemplation to pass Pres^ 
cott, on the night of the Sth of November ? 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 55 

Ji It had. In the afternoon, while on the river, there CHAP. 

was an order to that effect, and I understood they were ^^.^^^^^ 
to pass without halting. This order was countermanded 
in the evening, as they approached the place. 

10th Q. — Why was it not executed ? 

Ji. — / do not know,* 

The judge advocate having closed the direct examina- 
tion of the witness. General Wilkinson proceeded to cross 
examine him, as follows. 

1st ^. — When Major-general Wilkinson had the ho- 
nour to command you, was he not indefatigahlc in the 
public service ? 

X — I do not think he was. 

2d ^. — Did he land at the mouth of the Genesee river 
from an open gig? Was not the day rainy or misty? Did 
he not complain of ill heaWi, and by your advice change 
his gig for an open wagon, in which he proceeded alone 
for Niagara, a little before dusk ? 

.4. — To this I answer in the affirmative. 

5d Q. — After General Wilkinson's return to Sackett's 
Harbour, was he not generally ill, and confined to his 
room or bed ? 

»5. — He frequently was. 

4th Q. — Did not General Wilkinson uniformly mani- 
fest great zeal, solicitude and vigilance, in tlie execution 
of his duty ? And did he not appear, at all times, deeply 
concerned for the honour and comfort of the troops, and 
for the interests of the nation ? 

Jl. — He so expressed himself, 

5th Q — What was the state of the weather as to wind, 
and what the apparent healtli of General Wilkinson, 
when he arrived at Sackett's Harbour, on the 4th of Oc- 
tober ? 

* How does it happen, that a quarter-master-general, could be ig- 
norant on such a subject as this ? This happy obscurity belongs pe- 
culiarly to the Quarter-master-general Swarfwout; no other quaj"ter- 
master-genera! in the world, could op would have been enveloped 
in it. 



5)5 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. .3. — ^To the best of my recollection, he came into the 



H. 



harbour with a fine breeze, between three and four in the 
afternoon, and his health appeared tolerably good; though 
I saw him buf a short time. 

6th Q Wheii General Wilkinson arrived at the Har- 
bour, was the situation of the American and British 
squadrons, on lake Ontario, known at that port ? 

^i, — Not to my knowledge. 

Yth Q. — Do you know on what day, Commodore 
Chauncey, returned with the squadron, to Sackett's Har- 
bour ? 

^. — I do not. 

Sth ^. — Can you be positive as to the state of the 
weather, as it respects winds and otlier circumstances, on 
the 5th, 6th, 7th, and Sth, of October? 

^. — I think it was generally good. 

9th Q. — Was it known at Sackett's Harbour, before 
General Wilkinson arrived there, on the 4th, what was 
the situation of the division of the troops, expected from 
Fort George, or whether they had sailed or not? 

c?. — I do not know that it was. 

10th Q. — Was the division of troops at Sackett's Har- 
bour, organised and fitted, in all respects, to take the 
field, and give battle to an enemy, before General Wil- 
kinson arrived there, on tlie 4th of October ? 

,/? I WAIVE GIVING AN OPINION.* 

11th q. — Are yt)u certain, that the gun barges, fitted 
out at Sackett's Harbour, were armed, manned, and 
equipped, for sailing, within four days, after General Wil- 
kinson arrived there ? 

Jl. — I am not certain, but believe they ivere.f 

* What will the reader think, of a Quarter-master-general, who 
could give such an answer as this, and upon such an occasion. A 
candid man in his station, possessing tlie nnost ordinary qualifications 
for it, might have answered in the affirmative or negative, according 
to the dictates of his conscience. Was it to conceal his ignorance,- 
or to suppress the truth, that this answer was. given? 

I How, under existing circutnstances, could be be ignorant of sucK 
material facts ? 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 57 

IQth Q. — Can you luentiuii the day, on which your or- CHAP, 
ilers directed you, to have transports ready at Fort " 
George, for the embarkation of the troops at that post ? 

»4 — -My first order was from the 10th to the 15th of 
September; a subsequent one, 1 thinii, from the 10th to 
the 20th. 

ISth (^. — Can you say with confidenrc, what was the 
state of the weather, from the 20th of September, to the 
ith of Ortober ? 

J. 1 CANNOT.* 

±4th ^.— Wouhl it have been prudent, for the division 
of troops, at Sackett's Harbour, to have sailed fr»r Grena- 
dier Island, before it was ascertained, that our squadron 
could protect them, from the armed vessels of the enemy? 

^. — / think not. 

15th ((. — If tlie troops had arrived at Grenadier Island, 
and by any unforseen accident, the enemy had acquired 
an ascendancy on the lake, wliat would have been owr 
situation ? 

t^. — It is impossible for me to sAv.f 

16th Q. — Would any advantage, have been gained to 
the meditated expedition, in point of time, or of comfort 
and convenience to the troops, or of economy in the con- 
sumption of stores and provisions, by moving the troops, 
from Sackett's Harbour to Grenadier Ishind, before those 
expected from Fort George, were in readinesss to ac- 
company them? 

Ji. — It is impossible for me to say. 

17th Q. — Were not many boats wrecked, in their pas- 
sage from Foi't George to Oswego? And did you not 
furnish other boats at Oswego, to supply the loss ? 

* Tlie quarler-master-general, is generally considered as the baro- 
meter of an army, and his journal as a complete authority. 

\ Here we have another proof, of the incapacity of the quarter- 
master-general, of the American army, selected by the secretary of 
war, (General Armstrong) for that important office; "It is impossi- 
ble for him to tell" what would have been the fa;e of an army, on a 
small island, surrounded by a dominant naval force !'. ! 

VOT,. III. II 



58 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAF. A — 'There were boats lost> and other boats furnished 
^^' by my department, to supply the loss. 

18th ^. — Were not other boats wrecked, between Os- 
wego and Henderson's Bay? And did not some of the 
troops, march part of the way by land, in consequence 
thereof? 

A. — I do not know the fact, except by common report. 

19th ((. — Do you know at what time the front or rear 
of the troops, from Niagara, reached Henderson's Bay ? 
and in what condition they were, on their arrival, as to 
jirovisions, clothing, arms and ammunition? 

A. — I do not. 

30th Q. — Were not materials furnished, and artificers 
sent to Henderson's Bay, to repair the boats in that har- 
bour? 

A. — I think they were. 

21st ^ — Did not General Wilkinson issue orders, at 
Sackett's Harbour, to accelerate the movemeiit of the 
troops, to Grenadier Island? And were not several at- 
tempts made, and defeated by adverse winds? 

A Yes. 

22d ^. — Is not tlie coast, from Sackett's Harbour to 
Grenadier Island, exposed and dangerous, for the na- 
vigation of small craft, when the winds set on shore ? 

A, — ^Very much so. 

33d ((. — Was not the morning of the day, on which 
the troops sailed from Sackett's Harbour, favourable, and 
did it not become squally? And were not many of tlie 
boats wrecked, and a large quantity of provisions, with 
some of the clothing, and stores of the troops, tliercby 
unavoidably lost? 

.5.— Yes. 

24th ^.-^-Whilc at Grenadier Island, were not several 
boats driven from their moorings, across the bay to the 
main land, and some of tliem wrecked ? And was not a 
vessel returning to Sackett's Harbour, witli the sick, 
stranded, with much hazard to tlie lives of those on 
board? 

»3.-.Ycs. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 59 

25ih Q.— .Were the provisions at Sackett's Harbour, chap. 
embarked by order of General Wilkinson? And if not, " 
hy whose order were they embarked ? 

*8. — General Wilkinson never gave any orders, to this 
effect, to my knowledge j they were embarked by order o/" Proofs of 

the secretary of war. tary^of'^^" 

26tb Q W^ere yoU not ordered to provide transports, war's im- 

for two months provisions for 7000 men ? And were you fei?fg^^ ^^ 
not directed to employ, several hundred boatmen? rence. 

Jl. — I was. 

2/<th ^.- — You have said, tlie provisions at Sackett's 
Harbour, were embarked under your direction, and that 
you receipted to the contractor for the same, making it 
public property? Did you take receipts for that provi- 
sion? or did you make an inventory of t!ie articles, put 
on board of eacii boat? And was any person, on board of 
each boat loaded with provisions, served with an inven- 
tory of sucii provisions? Or was application made to 
General Wilkinson, on the subject, before, or at the time, 
the provisions were embarked ? 

Jl. — I receipted for the provisions; turned them 

OVER TO THE CONTRACTOR,* AS ISSUING COMMISSARY, 
ON ACCOUNT OF THE UNITED StATES; I DID NOT THEN 

TAKE A RECEIPT FROM HIM. An inventory was made, 
but not for each particular l)oat, to my knowledge. Nor 
was any person on board of each boat, furnished with 
distinct inventories. Jfo application was made to General 
TVilkinson on the subject. 

28th ^. — You have said there were two or three days 
delay at French Creek ^ will you inform the court, how 

* This transaction furnishes the following result: that the Quarter- 
master-general, without the privity of the commanding General, 
gave a receipt to the contractor, for the army provisions, by which 
the government was made responsible for, and the contractor absolv- 
ed from all losses, and he immediately afier turned the same provi- 
sions over to the contractor, but took no receipt for them, and it will 
be seen, that the same Quarter-master-general, in consequence of the 
refusal, of the commanding General, afterwards gave the contractor 
a certificate for the provisions, which he reported to have been lost, 
on the expedition, to a very considerable amount. 



60 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. Ion£^ General Wilkinson remained tliere, after liis ar 



II 



rival at that place? 



Ji. — 1 thirjk he was there, as long as I was, and that he 
arrived the same day. 

29th ^. — Did the army wait for General Wilkinson at 
French Creek? 

j]. — Not to my knowledge. 

30th Q. — Did not a considerable detachment, accompa- 
ny General Wilkinson to French Creek? 

Jl. — I think there did. 

31st Q. — Would General Wilkinson have been justifi- 
able, 'n leaving behind him, in the vicinity of the enemy, 
a corps of two, or three thousand men? 
Decisive Jl. — Hc might have been justijiable, or he might not. 
the"quar- The season being so far advanced, the weather fine, and 
termas- hq expectation of a continuance, I should not have 
rai. thought it advisable, had 1 commanded the expedition, 

to have waited^ for tivo, or three hundred men, twelve 
hours. 

S3il ((. — How long did the army remain, at French 
Creek, after the ari'ival of Colonel Randolph with his 
corps ? 

A. — Perhaps twenty-four hours. I think he arrived 
the morning preceding our departure. 

33d Q. — Was there any unnecessary delay of the army 
at Morrisville? 

Ji. — I think the delay of halting above Ogdensburgh, 
was altogether unnecessary. 

34th Q. — Was there any unnecessary delay, in passing 
Prescott ? 

.i. — 1 know of none after the troops were put in mo- 
tion. 

35th ^. — Was there any unnecessary delay, in the vi- 
cinity of the White House ? 

*3.^ — I think there was not. 

36th ^. — You have said. General Wilkinson asked yon 
for the order, of the 25th August, 1613, at Sackett's Har- 
bour, and Plattsburgh; Did he not ask you for an order, 
also, at the French Mills ? And did you not promise. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 61 

on your honour, to let him have a copy of it, in one chap. 

month ? ^^-v-^.^ 

j3. — Not to my knowledge, but I some where promised 
liim, that the original order, should be delivered to him» 
as soon after the termination of the campaign, as I could 
obtain my papers. 

o7th Q. — You have said, General Wilkinson wanted 
the original order, to take a copy of it; Why did you not 
furnish, or offer to furnish a copy, instead of sending the 
original, to General Wilkinson ? 

^. — From feelings of delicacy* to my superior officer. 

SSth Q. — For what purpose, did you cause the order 
to be copied, and the copy attested, before you sent the 
original ? 

w3. — To guard against accident or design. 

S9th ^, — Are you sure, that when General Wilkinson 
asked you for an order, which he had given you at 
Sackett's Harbour, that he meant the order, which you 
say you enclosed to liim, at Plattsburgh ? 

A. — I am certain and positive. 

40th Q. — Did General Wilkinson issue an order to you, 
respecting forage, oats, &c.? Have you got that order? 
and did not General Wilkinson allude to it, when he re- 
quested the loan of an order to copy ? 

^. — I never, to my knowledge, received from him a 
written order on that subject, except one a few day's pre- 
vious to leaving Sackett's Harbour, for furnishing forage 
for horses, then in the St. Lawrence country, and one to 
furnish forage near Cape St. Vincent, which was vir- 
tually countermanded by a subsequent order. 

41st ^. — Do you know the name of the orderly, to 
whom you delivered the note, containing the order? Did 
you ever see him afterwards, or make any enquiry for 
him. 



* For an exemplification of these feelings, the reader is referred to 
his impious asseveration of "By God, General, 8tc." in his preceding; 
statement. 



6^ MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. Jl. — I do not know his name ; never saw him after- 
^'' wards J but made enquiry froin General Wilkinson, wlio 
he was and where to be found: his reply was, that he 
could not tell. 

42rf ^. — How often did you call to find Captain M'Pher- 
son, after your interview with General Wilkinson, on the 
subject of the order? Did you le«,vc any word at his 
lodgings, or send him any note, on the subject, or take 
any other measures to see !.;m, before you left Platts- 
burgh ? 

Jl. — I called twice or thrice : / left no word at his lodg- 
ings, and took no other measures, except cailing npon him 
and not finding hiuj. 

^5d ^.— Have you any reason to believe, that the or- 
der you speak of, was received by General Wilkinson ? 
If so, what are your reasons ? 

.^. — 1 have reasons to believe, the order was received 
by General Wilkinson, and they are founded on the re- 
ply of Major M'Pherson,'^ when spoken to on the subject, 
in the evening, and on General Wilkinson's conduct, when 
I spoke to him the next morning. 

4^th q, — Do you recollect who delivered General Wil- 
kinson's note to you, on the morning of the 22d of Fe- 
bruary, requesting you to send the order you had pro- 
mised ? 

A. — It was delivered by an orderly, j 

45th q. — You say you was astonished at the contents 
of the note. Did you express your astonishment, to the 
person who delivered it ? or what did you say ? 

J. — Certainly I did not express my astonishment, to 
the person who delivered it; but told him I would wait 
upon General Wilkinson immediately. 

46th q. — Having taken a copy of the order, and pro- 
cured an attestation of it, previous to sending the origi- 

* See Lieutenant-colonel M'Fherson's deposition, in contradiction 
of Ibis witness, as well as tlic testimony of Lieutenant Bell and Doc- 
tor Bull. 

t Lieutenant Bell proves, that he delivered that note. 



II. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 63! 

wal to General Wilkinson, could the withholding, or de- CHAP, 
struction, of the original order, by General Wilkinson, 
operate to your injury? 

Jl. — I THINK NOT. 

47 til Q. — Was there any thing so peculiar in the order, 
that General Wilkinson could have any motive, for get- 
ting it into his possession ? 

J. — It is not for me to determine. The order to me was 
an important one, and General Wilkinson did, not know 
of the measures, I had taken to guard against its deten- 
tion or destruction. 

48^^ ^.— iWhen General Wilkinson asked you, for a 
copy of an order at Sacket's Harbour, did you not refer 
him to Major Brow n your deputy ? 

J. — It is very possible, but it is not in my recollection. 
But I did not refer him to Major Brown, respecting the 
order before shewn in court. 

49th ^. — Are you certain no order was ever given, by 
General Wilkinson to you, to lay in forage for the expe- 
dition ? 

.4. — Orders were certainly given, and I took measures 
to execute them ; but these orders were verbal. 

50th ^. — Might not the letter delivered to the sergeant, 
for General Wilkinson, have been destroyed, or lost, by 
tliat non-commissioned officer ? 

.4. — It was possible for him to lose it, but it was not 
possible, from the answer I received, from Major M*Pher- 
son. 

The court adjourned to Friday, the 3d of February, 
J 815, at 10 o'clock, A. M. ' 

Troy, February 3d, 181j. 
The court convened pursuant to adjournment. 
The cross examination of Brigadier-general Swart- 
wout, was resumed as follows : 

51st Q. — You have said, that you took a copy of the 
order, sent to Geiieral Wilkinson, witliout Jiis knoAvledge, 



64^ 



MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP. 
II. 



Thinks 
he sa^^•, 
General 
Wilkin- 
son's let* 
ters lo 
General 
Arm- 
strong-, 
but never 
conrim;^ni- 
ca'ti with 
General 
Wilkin- 
son, on the 
subject. 



to guard against its loss or detention^ by accident or de- 
sign. Had you any cause, at that time, to suspect Gene- 
ral Wilkinson, of a design to destroy or detain this or- 
der? And if so, be pleased to assign your reasons for 
such suspicion ? 

^. — I had no reason, at the time, to suspect General 
Wilkinson, would destroy the order,* that he might de- 
tain it was very possible. Sometime before the delivery 
of this order. General Wilkinson had told me, he had 
asked for a court martial: I do not recollect whether at 
Plattsburgh, Malone, or French Mills; and the deten- 
tion of that letter might have a bearing upon his trial. 

52rf Q. — Did you not communicate the contents of the 
letter, now exhibited to you, to the then secretary of war, 
John Armstrong esq. at Sackett's Harbour, and inform 
him, that tiiere was no forage in store, and tliat it could 
not be procured, nearer than Low ville, fifty miles dis- 
tant ? 

.^.— I did. 

52(1 ^. — Were you not afterwards shewn a letter, by 
the said Armstrong, from General Wilkinson to himself, 
containing tiie following paragraph, viz. "If there be 
any deficiency of forage on our part, it is the fault of the 
quarter-master-{;eneral, who w'as instj'ucted as early as 
August, to lay in a supply of 12,000 bushels, for the sub- 
sistence of the cavalry." Or was not the substance of this 
paragraph, communicated to you by the said Armstrong ? 

Ji. — I think it venj possible, that General Armstrong did 
shew me that. 

54th Q. — Have you ever, since that period, communi- 
cated with General Wilkinson, on the subject of said pa- 
ragraph, or denied its truth and justice? 

,^. — I never have had any communication with Gene- 
ral Wilkinson on the subject, either direct or indirect. 

5fith ({. — Did you never inform tlie late secretary of 
w^ar, that General Wilkinson had procured from you, the 
original order of the 25th of August, 1814, a copy of 
wliich you have produced to this court, and that he had 
detained it from you, or had destroyed it ? 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 65 

J, — I did communicate it to the secretnrij of war, and chap. 
left a copif, of the attested copy, on fie in the ivar office, for ^ 
my justification.^ 

5Gth q, — Were not steering oars, for descending the 
rajjids of the St. Lawrence, ordered to be made at Gre- 
nadier island? Was this done? 

Jl. — An order was given, and executed as far as prac- 
ticable. 

5Tth Q. — Were not steering oars ordered to be made 
at French creek ? and was this done ? and if so, was not 
this a cause of detention? 

d. — wVof to my knowledge. 

5Sth Q. — You have said, it was your opinion, that the 
army might have safely moved down the river, on the 
morning of the 10th November j What were the grounds 
of your opinion ? 

Jl. — Seizing none of the enemy myself in the early part The quar- 
of tlie day, and the fire in our rear being scattered and ter-mas- 

'^ ter-gene- 

distant, I did not believe, the pressure of so small a force,] rai's lea- 
ought to have prevented their movement. sons, for 

*-' *• moving- 

59th ((. — After the affair of the 11th, were you of opi- down the 
nion, tliat the army miglit have moved down the river, on !r^'i'Q?j| 
the 10th, without obstacle, leaving Boyd to follow Brown, Nov. 

* It appears from this, that the quarter-master-general, was one of 
Mr. Secretary Armstrong's secret informers. 

f Yet it appears from his testimony, that the enemy which pressed 
the rear of the army, on the 10th, shewed 2500 men in *' battalia" on 
the 11th, and that this force was beaten back, by 1700 of our undis- 
ciplined troops, upon a reserve of 700 men, making the whole strength, 
of he enemy 3200 men ; to whom he thinks, we could have shewn our 
re<ir, with safety, on a Ime of march, in single column, funked on the 
right by the St. Lawrence, and 07i the left by woods and ravines -• in many 
places without room to change Front, or form in order of battle; here 
the Quarter-mastcr-general disphiys, ths professional intelligence, ma- 
nifested by General Brown, in his affair of the 10th, when he com- 
pelled Captain M'Pherson, of the light artillery, in spite of his re- 
monstrances, to form his battery in a hollow, for the advantage of ele- 
vating his pieces, to fre at the enemy on the opposite heights. Well 
might Colonel Peirson, who was opposed to us on the 10th, exclaim 
to Captain M'Pherson, who visited him at Cornwall, with a flag of 
truce, " Ah ! Sir, your troops are the bravest men 1 htave ever seen, 
hat your officers know little of service." 
vol. III. I 



66 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, and aie you still of the same opinion? and if so, what arc 
^^' the grounds of your opinion? 
o inion *^* — '^''^ battle of the 1 1th did not change my opinion, 
not Chang- with rcspect to the 10th. 

battle S'^ 60*'* Q- — ^°" '^^^^ ^^**^> *^'^^ previous to the 10th of 

the 11th. November, you had received no information, that the 

enemy were following in the rear of our army; What 

was your information, or belief, as to their strength, 

previous to, or on the morning of, tl»e 10th? 

Ji. — Their strength was variously stated; their dis- 
tance also was variously stated : and I had no knowledge 
of their force or distance.'* 

6±st ^. — Was it not reported, w hen the troops lay near 
the White House, that the enemy were posted along the 
bank of the river below, with intention to fire on the 
boats, as they descended? 

»4. — I believe it was so reporte<l. 

62d Q. — Would not such a disposition, have greatly an- 
noyed the army, on its passage in boats? And was it 
practicable for the troops, to have defended themselves 
from tlieir boats, while in motion? 

J. — Such a disposition, would, undoubtedly, have an- 
noyed us very much. 

6Sd Q. — You liave said, you suppose General Brown 
was detached to take some fort; Was it not reported, 
known, or believed, that the enemy occupied a block 
house on the Long Saut; and also were posted, along the 
left bank of the river, to annoy our boats, and to gall the 
troops in their descent of a long rapid, when tliey could 
make no resistance? 

A. — It was so reported. 

6i<th Q. — Did not the enemy engage General Brown. 
at, or near, a block house, on the bank of the river, on 
the Saut, about noon on the lOtli? And did you not hear 
the firing ? 

* This Quarter-master-general, without knowledge of the force or 
movements of the enemy, and ignorant of distance, time, or weather, 
presumes to decide on, what ought to have been, the operations ol 
the armv. 



GENERAL Wlt^KINSON. 67 

J I did not hear the firing, but understood that Ge- chap. 

II 
neral Brown had an engagement. s,^,r-vr>i^ 

65th Q. — Have you not since understood, that the 
force opposed to General Brown was 800 men, or there- 
abouts ? 

Jl. — I have not. 

66th Q. — Did you hear on the morning of the 10th, 
that several hundred of the enemy had taken post, on an 
island in the Long Saut, with a view to attack our flotilla, 
in its descent? And was not Colonel Bissell with his re- 
giment, a party of artillery, and some of our armed boats, 
detached to drive them off, or capture them, on the morn- 
ing of the 11th? 

J. — I believe they were. 

67th Q. — Did you know why General Wilkinson, was 
not on shore, on the morning of the 11th November. 

d. — I do not know, but presume from indisposition. 

6Sth Q. — Did you ever hear. General Wilkinson make 
use of any language, openly and publicly, during the ex- 
pedition of the troops, down the St. Lawrence river, in 
1813, calculated, to cause or countenance negligence, or 
waste among the officers under his command 5 or to in- 
culcate upon their minds, a disregard to the preservation 
of the public property ? 

^. — None other than what I have before testified to. 
I do not recollect that any persons were present, at our 
conversation on this subject. 

69th Q. — You have stated, that the hospital stores 
were, after embarkation, under charge of the hospital 
department; What officer of that department liad them 
in charge? 

Jl. — The senior officer I presume, I believe Dr. Ross.* 

70th Q. — As you have stated, that the stowage of the 
hospital stores was under your direction, were they se- 
cured in transports, specially assigned to that service, or 
were they promiscuously mixed, with the provisions and 
ammunition, and on board of different vessels ? 

Doctor Ross, on his oath, positively contradicts this declaration. 



68 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. d. — The ^nn-boats were specifically assi.^ncd for tliat 
purpose; and 1 undorstood they werr put on board. 

Tlst Q. — Did any officer, engaged on the expedition, 
know where to find them? and if so, will you be pleased 
to name him? 

J. — Major Brown.* 

72d Q. — Were not the boats on wliich provisions were 
loaded, much crowded? And was not the compl.aint on 
this account frequent? 
^.— Yes. 

73d Q. — How long have you acted, as quarter-master- 
general to the army ? 
The quar- ji, — From the 21st March, 1813; that is the date of 
tei L;ene- wy commission. I offered my resignation on 1st April, 
rai con- 1814:+ it was not accepted; and in the month of August 

tradicted, 
with re- 

* Contradicted by the teslimony of Doctor Bull. 

•}■ At a general court martial, convened at Troy, in N-ew York, 
Major James Reese, Deputy Quarter-master-general, on the 25th Fe- 
bruary, 1815, declared on oath, that in January, 1814, there were two 
quarter-masters general, who acted in the military district. No. 9., to 
Wit, General R. Svvartwout and Colonel Jenkins, and that he received 
his orders from the former; tliat previous to this period, Colonel 
Thomas had, also, acted as quarter-master-general, in the same dis- 
trict; that Brigadier-general Swartwout, resigned his commission, of 
quarter-master-general, in the United States arniy, in the winter of 
1814; which was accepted in a general order, dated, " Adjutant and 
Inspector General's Office, Washington, February 1, 1814," an ex- 
tract from which, is in the words following: "The resignation of 
Major-general Wade Hampton, Brigadier-generals Thomas Parker, 
David R. Williams, and Quarter-master-general Swartwoul, chief of 
the department, has been accepted." I saw General Swartwout, con- 
tinued deponent, the first week in September, 1814, and mentioned 
the fact of his resignation having been accepted, and that the gene- 
ral order to that effect, had been published in the encampment. at 
Plattsburgh, 19th April, 1814. He replied, it had not been accepted, 
and shewed me a letter, from the secretary of war, directing him to 
I'esume his duties. 

The people of the United States will liardly believe, that President 
Madison, in violation of the constitution, has on his own authorit}', 
continued tliis citizen, in the higldy important military station, of 
quarter-master-gcneral, from the 1st of February, 1814, upwards of 
two year?, yet it is a solemn truth ; but the President, like the King", 



GENERAL AVILKINSON. 69 

last, was ordered to resume my duties. My orders from chap. 

IT 

the wai' department, were dated, I think on the 21st or ^^^.^^^^.^^ 
22d of that month. spect to 

74th Q. — When at Sackett's Harhour, between the 15th the fact of 
and 20th of October, 1813, were you not opposed to an nLtbn.'by 
attack upon Kingston ? the depu- 

jl, — I was in the early part of October, decidedly of ^g,. mas- 
opinion, that Kingston should be attacked^ presuming it ter-sene- 
would rrtard the operations of the army, from four to 
eight days, between the 15th and 20th, my opinion 
changed, on account of the advanced state of the season. 
Afterwards at French Creek, General Brown and my- 
self, were in favour of an attack upon Kingston, in pre- 
ference to going to Montreal, in the first instance. We 
mentioned it to General Lewis, who substantially replied, 
that it was unnecessary to nn iition it to General Wilkin- 
son, as he was fixed to go to Montreal. I have no know- 
ledge, that this idea was ever suggested to General Wil- 
kinson. I believe Geneva! Wilkinson, at the time, last 
stated, was confined by indisposition, but do not know 
that he was extremely ill. 

75th Q, — Did you not, at the council of war of the 
chief officers, near the White House, vote in favour of 
prosecuting the expedition against Montreal? And did 
you not at that time, calculate on the junction, of the 
division of Maj. Gen. Hampton, at or near St. Regis ? 

A.— I did. 

7eth Q. — If you had known at the time of this coun- Thequar. 
cil, tliat Major-general Hampton would not join General t^^'^''^- 
Wilkinson, would you have voted to continue the expe- ral votes, 
dition against Montreal ? i ^°'' !'.'^ 

^ ' conti- 

Ji. — My opinion, certainly, xvas influenced by the infer- nuance of 
mation that General Hampton was to join us. diUmf^un- 

der an 

can do no wrong', and therefore his conduct must not be questioned, rjg,^!,., i 
although he should foster the friends, or adherents of Aaron Burr, at Hamp- 
the very time that he degrades, and destroys the man, who baffled ton's force 
their treasonable projects; saved the nation from a civil war, and se- )^^"'d 
curod to Mr. Madison, the high station, which he has abused and ^ 
disgraced. 



70 



MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP. 
II. 



77th ^.— You have said, you do not think General 
Wilkinson, was indefatigable in the public service. Will 
you be pleased to point out an instance, in wliich he was 
not indefatigable, whilst his health permitted him to be so ? 

w3 — I can answer that question generally only. I have 
before stated, that I believe there were unnecessary de- 
lays at Sackett's Harbour, and other places on the river. 
How far xvant of health iiifliienced these delmjs, I cannot un- 
dertake to say. 

7Sth Q. — For what reasons did you, at Frenck creek, 
change your opinion, from the attack of Montreal, to the 
attack of Kingston? 

Jl. — Front the advanced state of the season, and the tar- 
diness of our movements, from Sackett's Harbour, to that 
place. 

79th Q. — Did you hear or understand, at the time, that 
Commodore Chauncey, interested himself to eifect this 
change of disposition, in the operations of the campaign; 
and did not the Commodore request, either, you or Gene- 
ral Brown, to urge the matter to General Wilkinson ? 

A. — I understood from General Brown, at French 
creek, that Chauncey's opinion, coincided with that of 
General Brown; but I did not understand, that he had 
requested him, to state it to General Wilkinson. 

80th Q, — Did you, pending the campaign of 1813, re- 
ceive orders from the late secretary of war, John Arm- 
strong esq. J and will you be pleased to state what they 
were ? 

A. — I will shew the orders I received. 



Furtlier 
interfe- 
rence of 
the secre- 
tary of 
war. His 
grcler for 
erecting 
huts, for 
10,000 
men, in 
(Sattada. 



>• War Department, Oct. 16th, 1813. 
^< Sir, 

<« You will have all the huts near Fort Volunteer, put 
into such repair, as may be directed by Doctor Tilton, 
for the accommodation of the sick. They should he well 
roofed, chinked, and clayed, and each room should have 
a V, indow, sashed and lighted through glass. This must 
be attended to immediately. 

" If among the troops left there, there be any carpen- 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 71 

ters, tlicy should be detailed for that service, and ex- chap. 
empted from all other while so employed. **■ 

« To be prepared against contingencies, as to winter 
quarters, you will despatch an active intelligent assistant, 
to the Chateaugay river, who will report to General 
Hampton, and take his directions. Witli regard to the 
place of hutting an army, of ten thousand men, the views 
which should govern in making the selection, are heal- 
tliiness and military strength of position^ facility of sup^- 
ply J future and prompt operations against the enemy ; 
and the government of the cantonment and its environs, by 
martial law exclusively. Tliis last will necessarily carry 
it, within the limits of Canada. 

«» Detachments of the militia may cut the logs, and 
erect and cover the huts ; but in all this Major-general 
Hampton will direct. Glass, nails, and hinges, should 
be sent from Albany. One window to each room, of 20 
feet, will be sufficient. 

<' If General Harrison should arrive on the Niagara, 
your deputy there should be instructed, to quarter hi^ 
troops in the town of Newark.* 

« I am. Sir, respectfully yours, 

« JOHN ARMSTRONG. 
*'' Brig. Gen. Swartwout, ^. M. Gen.'' 

His order to me, for embarking the stores, was verbal. 

81s^ Q. — Did you consider yourself bound to obey the 
erdeis of the said secretary of war ? 

Ji. — Unquestionably f at all times. 

82rf Q.— You say you were so oppressed, by the double 
duties, of quarter-raaster-general and brigadier, that you 

* This explicitly proves the interference of the secretary of war, 
General Armstrong-, with the quarter-master-general of the army, 
placed under my command, by giving him orders for the execution 
of works ; which plainly indicate the secretary's expectation, that the 
army could not reacli Montreal. These orders and arrang-ements, 
were carefully concealed from me, a circumstance unprecedented in 
military history, and calculated to defeat the best concerted opera- 
tions, by distracting- the sevvice, and superceding my authority, over 
mv subordinates. 



7S 



MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP. 
II. 



did not at all times, know the day of the week, or month* 
Was not the command of a brigade earnestly sought by 
you ? 

A. — It was ; 1 certainly sought it with great avidity. 

83rf Q. — Were not objections made, by certain officers, 
to your having a command in the line ? 

A. — Not to my knowledge. 

8ii/i Q. — Did you not apply to General Armstrong, the 
secretary of war, on this subject ? And did he not by 
word or letter, to General Wilkinson, remove tlie difficul- 
ty? And were you not consequently appointed? 

A. — I applied to General Armstrong, and think it ver^ 
probable, he conversed with General Wilkinson on the 
subject. 

Question hy the court. — What was your opinion, of the 
enemy's force in our rear, on the evening of the 10th ? 

A. — They appeared in such force, that it was deemed 
exjiedient for the troops, to lay on their arms all night, 
and unusual vigilance was exercised by the officers on 
duty.* 



Colonel 
Kin_^'s 
evidence 
com- 
mences. 



Colonel WILLIAM KING, of the 3d rifle regt. being 
sworn and examined as a witness on the part of the pro- 
secution, testified, that in the month of November, 1813, 
he was attached to the army, as adjatant-general to Ge- 
neral Hampton's division ; that on the 6th of November, 
he saw General Wilkinson, about five or six miles above 
Ogdensburgh ; General Lev,'is accompanied him, and 
they met General Y/ilkinson on the St. Lawrence j he 
had been reconnoitring Prescott ; they afterwards were 
a few minutes on shore, then went on board his schooner, 
when, the General spoke in sucli a manner, as to induce him 
to suppose, that he was dissatisfied with his situation, and 
the state of the army he commanded. He mentioned a 
council of war, that had that day been held; that he sub- 
mitted to it, the state of his provisions and ammunition, 
and added that they had determined in council, that the 

* In a former part of his testimony, he declared, he had no know- 
ledge, of the force or distance of the enemy 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 73 

army should pass Prescott that night. He spoke in such chap. 



a inanner, as to induce mc to suppose he was dissatisfied 
with the decision ; damned the army, wished he had been 
in hell, before he saw it. The witness considered tlie 
conversation unimportant, and it made no gi'eat impres- 
sion on his mindj of course, cannot be so particuhir 
as he otherwise misfht. In speaking of the army, lie 
said tliat the troops he brought from Fort George, might 
be depended on; those from Sackett's Harbour, were of 
an inferior character. 

ist Q. — At what time of the day was this ? 

J. — After dinner, ahout three or four o'clock. 

a.d Q. — How long did you continue with General Wil- 
kinson ? 

w3. — From one hour, to one and a half. 

3d Q. — Was there any appearance of intoxication 
ahout him at this time? 

J, — None. 

Uh Q. — Was his conduct the least violent or outra- 
geous ? 

^.— No Sir. 
'-' 5th Q. — Did you see General Wilkinson, drinking win© 
or other spirituous liquor? 

J. — I drank two or three glasses of wine with General 
Wilkinson. 

6th Q. — Did you see General Wilkinson the next 
morning ? 

J, — No Sir. I left the army before sun-set that even- 
ing. 

The direct examination of Colonel King being finish- 
ed. General Wilkinson proceeded to cross-examine him 
as follows, viz. 

±st Q. — When you met General Wilkinson on the river 

St. Lawrence, the 6th November, do you reccdlect, the 

particular conversation whicli took place, respecting the 

motive of your journey, to the upper country? Of your 

VOL. IIL K 



II. 



74 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, visit to the troops, under General Wilkinson ? Of the af-. 
' fair of General iJampton, on the Chateangay, and the 
conduct of the tioops there ? 
Witness ji. — I was sent hy General Hampton, Avith a conimnni- 
^"nerli catlfin to the secretai'y of war, at Sackett's Harhour, 
H.iinpton. On my arrival, at a sliort distance beyond Russell's, I 
commlini- '"^"^ Lieu»enant-colonel Campbell, from whom I learncdt 
cation to that the secretary of war-, had left Sackett's Harhour for 
taryof Albany; that General Wilkinson's army was dcsccndinj^ 
w.r, at^ the St. Lawrence, and that lie, Colonel Campbell, was on 
Haiboui". his route to meet it at Hamilton. This information, in- 
duced me to seek an interview, with General Wiliiinson, 
supposing it might be of importance to him, and benefi- 
cial to the public service, for him to know, the situation 
of General Hampton's division, and, also, whether he had 
any orders f(ir General iJamptoii. In conversation with 
General Wilkinson, relative to the affair of the 26th of 
October, which General Hampton had with the enemy, on 
Colonel the Chateauiray, I stated to him, that the corps which had 

King's ^ "^ ' , , 

character engaged, Oil the right bank of the river, and which consisted 
of the f^r ^i^f, ij^gf troops, had behaved in the most coxvardly man- 

troops.en- "^ ^ ' . "^ 

gaged on ner, and had disgraced themselves. And I think I added, 
the cha- ^^^^^ j^^ s]j,ji,|(j ^ot place any dependence on that divisiorr, 
after a junction should be formed. 

2d Q. — Did you not understand, that General Hamp- 
ton considered himself independent, of General Wilkin- 
son's commands, and that he was authorised to d.o so, by 
the secretary of war? 

J. — When General Wilkinson first arrive*], on the 
nortliern frontier, I did understand so, expressly from 
General Hampton. 

Sd Q. — Did not General Hampton, receive all his or- 
deis from the secretary of war, and make his reports 
directly to him, during the campaign of 1813? 
J, — With the exception of one or txvo; he did. 
4th Q. — Did not General Hampton refuse. General 
Wilkinson's orders, and decline his command? 
General ^. — General Hampton remonstrated about it to the. secrc- 

is^proved, ^^^1/ of War ^ but as well as I can recollect, I sent certain 



GENERAL AVILKINSOIV. 73 

orders and reports, called for, by one of General Wilkin- chap. 
son's letters, to the adjutant-general of General Wilkin- '^ 
Son's army. Previous to this communication, General ^,^ j^^^^ 
Hampton always said, that he was not subject to the icmon- 
orders of General Wilkinson; and that his command ag-amst* 
was a separate one. hexug 

under 

5ifi Q. — Did not General Hampton receive letters .or General 

orders from General Wilkinson, from Albany, in Au-^ vviikiu- 

-,11-11 ii 1 ^ ' . -> son's corn- 

gust, 1813? and did he answer those letters or orders? mand. 

yl — About that time, I think General Hampton, re- 
ceived one or more letters or orders, from General Wil- 
kinson. General Hanjpton never answered to my know- 
ledge. But the orders and reports, above alluded to, 
were made by his direction. 

The court adjourned to Saturday, the 4ih of February, 
1815, at 10 o'clock, A. M. 



Troy, February Uh, 1815. 

The court convened pursuant to adjournment. 

The judge advocate renewed an objection, made yes- Judge ad- 
terday, against the relevancy of the 2d, 3d, and 4th ques- ]^^^^^^^^' 
tions, proposed and answered, on the cross-examination certain 
of Colonel King, on the general ground, that General ^ut\o°"^* 
Hanjpton's operations, and the details which led to, and Colonel 
N\ ere connected with them, could have no bearings on the irlekvant- 
points in issue. 

Upon the same principle, he opposed the admission of 
interrogatories, JVos. 7th, Slh, 9th, 14th, 15th, 16th, and 
18th, which follow, and requested tlie opinion of the 
court. 

Whereupon the court was cleared; and having mature- Court 
ly deliberated upon the objections, submitted by the judge |^Jg^"j,"g^^, 
advocate, overruled the same, and decided that the inter- tions. 
rogatories be admitted. 

The judge advocate also objected to questions Nos. judge ad. 
11th, 19th, 20th, 21st, and 22d, on the principle, that no ^^^''^f , 

* *^ objects to 

Witness is bound to answer questions, tending to his own other 



MEMOIRS BY 




Corres- 
pondence 
between 
the secre- 
tary of 
war, and 
General 
Hampton, 
referred 
to. 



discredit, or to criminate himself, in wliich objections the 
court concuri'ed. 

The cross-examination of Colonel King was accord- 
ingly resumed as follows : 

6th Q.— Do you recollect at what time, to whom, or to 
what place, and by wliat conveyance, you transmitted the 
reports and returns, which General Hampton ordered to 
be transmitted, to General Wilkinson? 

jj, — [ presume the reports were transmitted about the 
1st of September,' they were sent by mail, addressed to 
Colonel Walbach,* at Sackett's Harbour, The orderly, 
Serjeant on duty, carried them to the post office at 
Burlington. 

7th Q. — After General "Wilkinson took npon him, the 
command of military district, No« 9., did not General 
Hampton tender his resignation, to the secretary of war, 
as an alternative, pr«^ferable to that, of submitting to be 
commanded by General Wilkinson? 

J. — Yes, I believe he did. 

8i/i Q — Was there a correspondence, between the late 
secretary of war and General Hampton, on the subject 
of General Hampton's, being under General Wilkinson's 
command, after tiic latter took command of military dis- 
trict. No. 9., and what was the result ? 

J. — I believe no correspondence came to my know- 
ledge qfficialhj on that subject ; but there was a corres- 
pondence on that subject. My impression of the result 
of it is, that after a junction of the two armies. General 
Hampton was to submit to General Wilkinson's com- 
mand. The letter from tlie secretary of war, was read 
to me by General Hampton, but it might have been 
couched so ambiguously, as to allow of different construc- 
tions. No returns were however made afterwards to my 
knowledge, to General Wilkinson, by General Hampton, 
but they were directed to the secretary of war. 

9th Q, — Was any person present, or near, when the 
conversation was field, which you ascribe to General Wil- 
kinson, in his boat? 

• Colonel WaJbach contradicts this presumption. 



GENEBAL ^VILKINSON, 77 

ji. — At tlie time that conversation took place, General chap. 
Wilkinson and myself were seated near the stern of the 
boat ; the officers of his family, were at some little dis- 
tance ; if they had listened, they might liave heard, but 
they appeared to be occupied. Nearly similar conversa- 
tion, also, took place between General Wilkinson and me, 
in the presence of General Lewis, while on sliore, as far as 
related to the expression of General Wilkinson's feelings, 
concerning his own situation, and tlie state of the army. 

10//i Q. — When General Wilkinson made use, of the 
loose and idle expressions, which you ascribe to him, did 
it appear to y.ou that he spoke, from deliberate reflection, 
or from the impulse of wounded sensibility ? 

A. — 1 considered it more an expression, of the feelings of 
the moment, than any deliberate sentiment. Words 

TT^ /- «r.ii . . made use 

I2th Q. — Did not General Wilkinson observe, m re- of, by 
ply to your remarks, on tiie turpitude of the troops under ^"Jf '^^^ 
General Hampton, that wlien joined to the corps, under son, as- 
his command, they would assttme a different aspect, and ^'"'^5'^*° 
act with a different spirit? or words to that effect? of ihe 

J.— I have no recollection of any remark of the kind. "^°'"^"^- 

15th Q. — After the conversation with General Wilkin- 
son, respecting the point of junction, with General Hamp- 
ton, did he not request of you to take a letter to General 
Hampton? Were you not furnished with such a letter, 
and was it not read to you before sealing ? or were not 
the contents explained to you? 

A. — Yes. 

IMh Q. — Did you not visit the late secretary of war 
at Albany, with despatches from General Hampton, in 
the month of November, 1813? and be pleased to say at 
what time? 

A. — I did, about the 20th or SAth of November. 

15th Q. — Did you hold any conversation with the said 
secretai'y of war, respecting the operations of the cam- 
paign, and the meditated attack upon Montreal ? 
A — I did. 

16th Q. — Did not the said secretary of war, impute 
great blame to General Wilkinson, aud justify Qeneral 



yS MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. Hampton? And did he not denounce tlie said General 
^' Wilkinson, and say he would make him answerable, for 
tlic failure of the expedition to Montreal ? or laii^^uage 
to that effect? 

■A. — I cannot say he went so far, as to denounce Gene- 
ral Wilkinson, or to say he would make him answcrablo 
General for it : he attached blame to General Wilkinson, and au- 
^/'"' thorised me to say to General Hampton, he attached 
secretary no censure to him : he appeared to be perfectly satisfied, 
attaXes ^^'^^^ ^''^ conduct of General Hampton.* 
blame to ±7ih Q. — Did not some conversation take place, be- 
Wi'lkin- tween you and General Wilkinson, when you met him 
son, but near Ogdensburgh, respecting" a junction of General 
General Hampton's corps? Was not the confluence of the St. 
Hampton. Lawrence with the Atawa river, mentioned as tlie pro- 
per point; and did you not say, that General Hampton 
was not in force, to make his march to that point, against 
the enemy opjjosed to him? Was not the neighbourhood 
of St. Regis afterwards mentioned, as the point of ren- 
dezvous, for the two corps ? Did not General Wilkinson 
ask you, whether he could depend, on General Hampton's, 
meeting him at that point? And did you not answer, 
*« Certainly .3" And was not this conversation held, when 
you were on shore, with General Wilkinson, before you 
went on board his boat, in the afternoon ? 

A. — Yes, but I will not be certain, whether on board 
his boat or on shore. 

±?>th Q. — Did you not communicate, to the late secre- 
tary of war, the conversation held \\\t\\ General Wilkin- 
son, on board his boat? and if so, will you say at what 
time, and for what purpose ? 

A. — I communicated this conversation,! when I had the 
hbnour of an interview with him, at Albany. 

* Yet it will be seen, that this same right honourable secretary, did 
censure General Hampton to Major Lee, and stood pledged to Gene- 
ral Wilkinson, to bring him to a court of enquiry. 

t Colonel King thus acknowledges, he \Yas another of secretary 
Armstrong's tale beaveris. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 79 



CHAPTER IIL 



JExamination of Bngadier-general Boyd commences. His 

narrative. — His cross-examination hy General Wilkinson. 
— States the transport to have been insiifficient JYot pos- 
sible to have passed Prescott, the night ihejlotilla arrived 
at Ogdensburgh. — Council of war, held at the IVhit^ 
House. — Decides upon proceeding down the river. — Votes 
for proceeding against Montreal, from a belief, that Gene- 
ral Hampton* s force would join. — British attack the 
jnckets, on the morning of the 9th. — Enemifs gun boats 
returUf in consequence of a battery erected on shore Ge- 
neral Boijd's description, of the battle of the 11th Exa- 
mination of Colonel Lamed. — His orders from the Se- 
cretary of War, and General Wilkinson respecting pa- 
roled officers, — Testimony of Lieut. Reah, oflSth infantry, 
to the same point. — Examination of James Thorn, con- 
tractor's agent.— States he -was interested in the contract, — • 
Commences embarking provisions, on the 22d September; 
not all on board till 10th October, or some days afterwards. 
— ,/l quantity of provisions lost on Fox Island. — Does not 
know, of any provision being left on shore, or wantonly 
wasted. — Witness accomjMnied the expedition, assumed 
the whole loss of provisions, and obtained affidavits 
of the fads, with General SwartwouVs certifcate, for- 
warded to the war department, for indemnity. — Contrac- 
tor" s report of rations remaining at Cornwall, JYov. 12th, 
J813. — James Thorn's cross-examination. — Had no com- 
muiiication with General Wilkinson, on the subject of pro- 
visions lost, except at Plaitsburgh, when he refused to 
certify for them. 

JOHN P. BOYD, brigadier-general in the United chap 
States army, was sworn and examined, as a witness, in ^^— ,,-^ 
support of the prosecution; and testified : 



80 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. That in the month of September, 1 813, lie was attach- 

^^^ ed to the aimy at Fort George, with the rank of briga- 

. (lier-goneral : that about the 4th of September, General 

nyofBrL- Wilkinson arrived at that place, and, as soon as his 

gadier- Jiealth would admit of it, he gave orders, to prepare the 

general ' o ' r i 

John F. troops, for embarking on an expedition. The transports 

°^ ■ for this purpose, never were in readiness; inasmuch as, 

they never had a sufficient supply. He cannot, precisely, 

state tlie time, vvlien those actually used, were prepared. 

State of When General Wilkinson first arrived, he was so 

Wilkin- n»uch indisposed in mind, and body, that in any other 

son's service, he vvoidd have perhaps been superceded in his 

the time command; he could not, therefore, have made the same 

of taking exertions, as a man of vigour would have done. His 

the com- . '^ ., i . 

mand. health Continued m this state, until the vntness parted 

from him at French Mills. A very few days after his 

arrival, he issued orders, assuming the command; but 

stated, that his health would not allow him, to interfere 

in the details, or police of the camp. 

((. — Did General Wilkinson exert himself, to hasten 
the preparations for the embarkation of the troops, in 
any other way, than by issuing the general orders before 
mentioned ? 

»5. — He had his staff always around him, who appear- 
ed to be busy, but I did not interfere. 

The witness further testified, that he does not recol- 
lect, what was the state of the weather, during the fort- 
night preceding the sailing of the expedition ; but, if it 
was about the time, that Commodore Chauncey was in 
t!ie neighbourhood, it was tempestuous : that some few 
days before the main body sailed, a detachment embark- 
ed, which just broke from the shore, but, he thinks, did 
not go out of the river, then returned and debarked : it 
was either waiting for the protection of our navy, or on 
account of bad weather ; there was some sufficient rea- 
son given. He has no recollection of any other embar- 
kation, prior to that of the main body. About the close 
of the month, there was an alarm at Fort George ; one 
afternoon^ a deserter came in, with a paper, coutainingf 



GENERAL WILKINSON. §1 

inibnnation, that the enemy, was either to attack that chap. 
iiiglit, or move off. General Wilkinson issued orders to "** 
the troops, to hold themselves in readiness ; that two co- 
lumns should move out of the camp ; one in front of the 
camp, commanded by the General in person, the other 
towards Queenstown, commanded by the witness. The 
oi-ders were to form, on the right and left of the Queens- 
town road, and shoukl the enemy pass in by us, to fall on 
their rear, and cut off their retreat : none made their ap- 
pearance : what was the amount of the enemy's force, in 
the vicinity, he does not know, as he was not in the coun- 
cils of the General. The number of our troops at Nia- 
gara, and Fort George, was from 3,000 to 3,500, effective 
regulars. The foit, with the number of tix>ops, was fully 
competent, for a defence against any force in that quar- 
ter 5 but after the embarkation, he conceived it must have 
been somewhat jeopardized. 

Whether there was an actual embarking of the troops, 
on the day of the alarm, he cannot state ; but the troops 
were several days on board tlieir boats, cither waiting for 
convoy, or the weather j and again landed at night. He 
cannot say how many days, the boats which were actual- 
ly provided, were in readiness, before the actual sailing, 
of the expedition, but not many. 

After General Wilkinson was out, and engaged in the 
preparations, he knows of no neglect on his part; but as 
he before stated, he does not know, that his health would, 
at any time, admit of his doing effective duty. 

The witness further stated, that he accompanied a 
part of the expedition, from Fort George to Henderson's 
Bay, before General Wilkinson left the former place. In 
consequence of a violent storm, the night succeeding the 
sailing of the expedition, the division of boats he com- 
manded, was dispersed; many much injured; and tlie 
witness's scliooner carried away her foremast by the 
board. He put into Eghteen Mile Creek, where a num- 
ber of boats had assembled ; many otiiers were on shore, 
and wrecked; eight and nine niilcs oh<>ve and below the 
creek. An express was, in consequence, sent to Colonel 

VOL. in. L 



8^ MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. Scott, at Fort George, for a new supply of boats. About 
*"• 11 o'clock, of the second day, General Wilkinson having' 
left his schooner, came into the Creek, in a small boat to 
see what detained thcmj gave orders for hastening them; 
remained about half an hour, and proceeded. Tiie wit- 
ness does not recollect, wliethcr the wcatlier was more 
favourable one, two, or three days, prior to the actual 
sailing of the expedition ; there was almost an incessant 
storm after leaving Fort George, until their arrival at 
Henderson's Bay. The flotilla which went into the 
creek, was out again tiie next day, and arrived at Hen- 
derson's Bay, from tiie Ath to the 16th of October. 

The court adjourned to Monday, the 6th February, 
1,815, at 10 o'clock, A. M. 

Ih-oy, February 6thf 1815. 

The court convened pursuant to adjournment. 

The examination, of Brigadier-general Boyd, being re- 
sumed; he stated, that from his knowledge of the two 
fleets, he should say, the transports could not have starr- 
ed, from Fort George, and proceeded with safety, prior 
to the day of their actual sailing. That except at Eigh- 
teen Mile Creek, he did not see General Wilkinson, dur- 
ing the passage to Henderson's Bay, where he arrived 
on the 15tb, or 16th of the month ; the same day, waited 
on the commanding general at Sackett's Harbour, and 
returned the next morning. He remained two days at 
Henderson's Bay, and his detention was caused by, per- 
haps, one of the most violent storms, that ever Avas wit- 
nessed. It was a matter of curiosity, to see twenty or 
thirty large trees blown down by it. On the 18th Octo- 
ber, he landed at Grenadier Island, and assumed the com- 
mand; part of his division of boats, had arrived before 
him, and part some days subsequent, being very much 
scattered. There were many boats lost, some driven on 
sliore, and a quantity of provisions lost or stranded. 
Some days after his arrival. General Brown with his 
own brigade, part of the witness's, and some artillery, 
Sailed for the St, jL<,awrenGe* A day or two after, he vva^ 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 83 

ordered by General Lewis, to embark the remainder, but chap. 
owing to the weather, had to relinquish the attempt. ^^,,^,^^^ 
When General Brown sailed, the boats for the remain- 
der of his brigade, were not ready ; the witness never 
bad transports enough, and he stated to the quarter- 
master-general, that he should be obliged to leave some 
of his men on shore, unless they were furnished with 
more boats. 

Having entered the St. Lawrence, they arrived at 
French Creek, on tlie 3d of November, and left there on 
the 5th. They were ordered to move before daylight, 
but tlic advance did not get off before 9 o'clock, and ar- 
rived below Morrisville, about 10, 11, or 12 o'clock, at 
night. During their stay at French Creek, and subse- 
quently, they could observe the Canada shore, but he is 
not acquainted with tlie extent of the river across, he saw 
no troops, no signals flying, nor any indications of com- 
municating intelligence, on the British side. In the 
afternoon of the 9th of November, from 2 o'clock to near 
sun-set, tlie expedition ai rived at a point of landing, on 
the Canada shore, near Chrystler's field. His brigade 
struck the shore, part landed, and the remainder slept in 
theii^ boats. On the morning of tlie 10th, by daylight. 
General Brown was detached in advance, down the river, 
with his own brigade, the elite, and some artillery ; he 
could not state the aggregate amount, of the above, but 
the impression was, that it might be from 2300 to 2500 
men. The remainder of the troops, on shore, were under 
tlie command of the witness. There was an order, from 
General Wilkinson, to that effect; and also that General 
Brown should move in advance; that General Boyd 
should command the rear guard, and should the enemy 
advance upon him, beat him back. Nothing was left to 
the discretion of the witness, in the orders of the 10th 
and 11th, but he had positive directions, should the ene- 
my advance, to beat him back, and pursue his march. 
He was senior officer on shore, but was not consulted as 
to the operations, or movements of the army, on those 
two days. Hq presumes, General Wilkinson's health 



8jb MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, was such, as not to allow him to come on shore, and he 
did not see him during the time. On the 10th, about 9 
o'clock at nig'ht, after the troops had returned, from 
skirmishing, with the enemy in the i*ear, and had been 
harassed in marching, and countermarching, during the 
day, he found himsolf commanding officer on shore; 
went on board of General Wilkinson's boat for orders ; 
to report the affair of the day, and to ascertain who was 
commanding officer. Colonel Pinkney, the aid of tlie 
General, informed him, that he could not see General 
Wilkinson, he was too unwell, and referred him to Gene- 
ral Lewis, for orders. He accordingly, boarded Gene- 
ral Lewis's boat, and received Iris orders to return on 
shore, and defend his position, and the flotilla for the 
night. He did so. The next morning, when the fatigued 
£o] lier rose, from his wet and unsheltered bed, he re- 
ceived orders, from General Lewis, to proceed down tJie 
river. 

After the troops were already in motion, he received 
an order from one of General Wilkinson's aids, arresting 
his march. About 10 o'clock, the enemy's gun-boats 
turned a point, commenced a cannonade, upon some of 
our gun-boats, without effect, and retired up the river* 

During the fore-part of the day, a variety of verbal 
orders, were brought to him by the aids of the comman- 
der in chief J most of which, by General Swift. These 
were, generally countermanded, before they were exe- 
cuted. 

The troops were paraded, in an open space, and be- 
tween them and where the enemy were supposed to be, 
was a piece of woods. Between 12 and 2 o'clock, dur- 
ing a violent storm, and the troops having been nearly 
forty-eight hours under arms,* the witness, impatient for 
orders, rode down to the bank, and received from Gene- 
ral Swift, an order written witli a pencil, directing him, 
to put the troops in motion, in twenty minutes, or as 
soon as four pieces of artillery should be landed, and 
dragoons dismounted to draw them. Before this time had 
expired, one of hisvidettes rode up and informed him, of 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 8^ 

the euemy^s appearance. He understood, that the delay chap. 
during the forenoon, was occasioned, by want of informa- 
tion from General Brown, and that this had just arrived. 
Subsequent to the pencilled order, and during the engage- 
ment which ensued, he received no order, from the com- 
mander in chief; but received some information from 
General Swift, (more than an hour after the battle com- 
menced, and, after having driven the enemy over tl>e first 
ravine,) that a reinforcement was coming up, and a sup- 
ply of ammunition; but the troops had already been sup- 
plied by his dragoons. From the report made to him, a 
day or two after the battle, the number of troops under 
Lis command, (exclusive of the artillery and dragoons) 
amounted from 1100 to 1200 men. The number of the 
enemy from observation, and the opinion of the officers 
present, could not have been less than 2500 men, exclu- 
sive of the gun-boats. That the operations of the army, 
during the action, were annoyed by the shot and shrap- 
nell shells, thrown from the latter. The British right 
rested on the gun-boats. The field of battle was so si- 
tuated, as to allow considerable execution from the boats, 
and our army felt the effects. It was well ascertained, 
the number of boats amounted to nine, and there must 
have been at least one gun to each. Our loss in tlie 
action, was three hundred and thirty-nine killed and 
wounded, with one piece of artillery. Some few prison- 
ers were taken from the British. After the battle, our 
troops embarked, some crossed over to the other shore, 
and the remainder moved down the river. 

Being furtlier examined, the witness stated, that he 
conceived it would have been practicable, to have moved 
down the river, on the morning of the 10th, without be- 
ing materially molested by the enemy, in the rear; be- 
cause, whenever they turned about, they drove the lat- 
ter; and were most of the day engaged in marching, 
countermarching, and skirmishing. He added, that he 
was not consulted, about the detachment of General 
Brown, in the morning. 



86 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. The direct examination, of Brigadier-general BoyJ, 
^^^„^.^^^ heing closed, General Wilkinson proceeded to cross-ex- 
amine him, as follows : 

1st Q — On your passage, from Fort George, were 
you driven into Oswego; and how long, did you conti- 
nue there ? 

J. — I was. I cannot say, precisely, how long ; but 
remained a number of days, and wrote to General Wil- 
kinson during the time. 

2d Q. — Could any individual officer, have accompa- 
nied and commanded the troops, on their movement, 
from Fort George, to Henderson's Bay, or Sackett's 
Harbour ? 

^i. — I should tliink it not possible. 

Sd q — In what condition, did you find the quarter- 
master-general's department, when yon arrived at Gre- 
nadier Island ? 

J. — There were complaints made for want of stores 
and boats? 

4th Q. — Did you see any wanton waste, or destruc- 
tion of provisions, by the troops, during the campaign ? 

J. — Not more tlian is common, to armies in general. 

5th Q. — Was General Swartwout nnder your orders, 
when you left Grenadier Island, and did he accompany 
you to French Creek j and did he sail from French 
Creek, at the time you did? 

ji. — He did, but I always was in advance. 

Cth Q. — Have you any knowledge of a boat, or boats^ 
being driven on shore on Grand Island, with a consider- 
able quantity of provisions on board ? 

^. — I know there was a boat driven on shore, but not 
her contents. 
Transport 7th Q. — Were you at any period of the campaign, 
rIpnP" provided with sufficient transport, for tlie comfort and 
health, of the officers and men of your brigade ? 

^. — I was not. 

8th Q. — Do you recollect whether any confusion oc- 
curred, among the boats of the army, the night you land*- 



cient. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. S'f 

ed above Ogdensburgli ? Were not the corps scattered chap 
and mingled, and could the flotilla, have passed Prescott "^' 
that night in order? 

J. — The flotilla was certainly very much in disorder, Not possi- 
as might be expected from landsmen rowing, in a rapid p^gs^jf^^^^ 
stream. It was not possible, to have passed Prescott, that night. 
that night, in order ; it was impossible for us to move in Jlsorder"^ 
the regular order prescribed. Every arrangement was from 
made, in orders, for the general movements, and plans Jowin'^^^n 
were furnished us. a rapid 

gth, — Can you say what is the distance from French ^ ^^^ 
Creek to Ogdensburgh ? Did not the troops, ply their 
oars from French Creek, to the point of landing above 
Ogdensburgh,* and were not the men much fatigued 
when they landed ? 

J. — I know not the distance; the men were much fa- Men much 
tigued, when they landed ; and they both sailed, and fatigued. 
rowed. 

10th Q. — Was not the halt the next day, employed in 
preparing the boats, to pass Prescott, by muflling oars, 
landing ammunition, and detaching all the troops to pass 
by land, excepting bare crews to work the boats ? 

J. — It was the apparent business of the day. 

llth Q. — Was there any council of war, held at the 
point of halting, above Ogdensburgli ; what was the 
subject of such council, ajid was General Swartwotit 
present ? 

»5. — There was a consultation, of the principal officers 
of the army, on board of General Wilkinson's boat, about 
12 o'clock. The subject was, whether Prescott should 
be taken, and the sentiment seemed to be, that, as the 
post was strongly fortified, and its reduction would re- 
quire some days, they should pass it that night ; which 
was accordingly done. General Wilkinson, at the same 
time, exliibited a letter he had written to General Hamp- 
ton, which was forwarded by Colonel King. Tins letter 
was predicated, either upon a communication, or letter 
from General Hampton. I am not certain, that General 
Swartwout was present^ but presume he was. 



ig^ MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. 12th Q. — Did you observe any body of armed men, on 
^^^* the Canada shore, after the troops past Prescott ? 
J. — I did not. 

±3th Q. — Was there a council of war, of the general 
officers, Jield at the White House, on the 8th of Novem- 
ber ? Was not a state of provisions, exhibited at that 
Council, with an estimate of the strength of the corps, 
under General Wilkinson's immediate command; and 
information given by General Wilkinson, of the expect- 
ed junction of General Hampton, at St. Regis, with 4000 
men ? and also the strength of the enemy below, on the 
St. Lawrence, and in the quarter of Montrei'l? And 
was not the question submitted, whether the corps un- 
der General Wilkinson's immediate orders, should pro- 
ceed against Montreal or not? and what was the de- 
cision ? 
Council of ^i. — -There was a council; that question was submit- 
aTthe^ ted, and tlie decision of the council was to go down. 
White lUh Q. — At the time of this council of war, of the 8th 

House. ^£ November, if you had believed, that General Hamj)- 
ton would not have formed a junction, with General Wil-' 
kinson, would you have voted to proceed, on the expedi- 
tion to Montreal ? 
Would J,— I should not. 

voted^o 15//i ^. — Did not a body of the enemy, follow thi? 
go to Mon- troops under General Wilkinson, down the St. Law- 
had not rence ? Have you any idea of their numbers, or the time 
believed yf fjieir arrival at Prescott ? 

Hampton >^' — 0" the night of the 8th of November, General 
would Wilkinson, who was on the Canada side, sent word to 
us, that the enemy were following ; that I should take 
post some distance above, at a bend in the river; and it 
was further stated, that he had already heard of their ar- 
rival, at Prescott, and that they were approaching. 

16th Q Was not the rear of the corps, under General 

Wilkinson, menaced by the enemy on the morning, of the 
9th of November, while at the White House; and did not 
the flotilla sail with the troops, so soon as the cavalry had 
finished crossing ? 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 89 

A. — There was an attack made on the pickets, on the chap. 
morning of the 9th, on the British side; what the hour '"' 
was, when we moved off, or wiiat detained us, I do not B,.;tish at- 
recollect , neither have 1 any recollection, of any of the tack the 
dragoons crossing in the morning ; the officers' horses f^e'^m^.Mn.r 
may have crossed. ingoftha 

I7th Q. — Suppose the army, of General Wilkinson, de- 
scending the St. Lawrence in open boats, and the enemy 
posted on its shore, with musquetry and artillery, what 
would be the consequence ? 

A. — They might have killed some men, and destroyed 
some boats. 

ISth Q, — Was it not reported, that such was the dis- 
position of the enemy, on the St. Lawrence below, and 
was not General Brown sent forward, to scour the coast, 
for the safe passage of the boats. 

A. — ^That was not communicated to me ; I so under-^ 
stood it, 

19th Q. — Can a body of infantry, on shore, keep pace 
with floating boats, on the St. Lawrence, after you get 
into rapid water? 

.^.— No. 

20f/i Q, — Was it not reported, that the enemy had 
taken post on the Long Saut, in a block-house, to annoy 
the troops in descending ? And was not General Browji 
detached to carry the post, and drive the enemy off? 

^.— I heard such conversation in the camp, but it was 
never reported to me, and I do not know it for certain. 

9.ist Q. — Was not Colonel Bissell detached, to attack 
an island in the Long Saut, said to be occupied by the 
enemy, on the morning of the 11th ? 

A — I know he was detached down the river, but not 
for what purpose. 

22d Q. — Was there any cause within your knowledge, 
for the countermanding of the orders, given on the morn- 
ing of the X 1th, before they could be executed? 

A. — I know of no other cause, but the one before stated^ 
relating to information from General Brown* 
vox. ill. M 



90 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. Qsd Q. — Did not the enemy advance and retire, several 
III 

times, on the morning of the 11th, and menace the rear 

of Grneral Wilkinson? Was there not a smart skimnish, 

and blood drawn, and did not the enemy retire after such 

skirmish, hefore the general action commenced? 

J No, Sir. 

2Alh Q. — Did you not, in consequence of the orders of 
that morning, turn ahout to attack the enemy, and in 
consequence of his retreating, did you not resume your 
front ? And was it not after this, on a second appearance 
of the enemy, you received the orders by Colonel Swift? 

J. — The enemy made no impression upon us, nor any 
movement between us and the woods, to bring on a skir- 
mish, before the battle commenced. 
Gun boats 25th Q. — Do you know, why the gun boats of the ene- 

oftheene- ^y^ returned on the morning of the 11th, and was it not 
mv return, "^ "^ i i- i i 

jnconse- caused by a battery ot two eighteen pounders, establishetf 
qiience of ^^ shore, bv order of General Wilkinson ? 

a battery, 

erected on ./f.— It was. 

shore. 

The court adjourned to the 7th day of February, 1815, 
at 11 o'clock, A. M. 

Troiff February 7ih, 1815. 
The court convened pursuant to adjournment. 
The cross-examination of Brigadier-general Boyd was 
continued as follows : 

9,6th Q. — Did you hear of any fictitious alarm, at or 
near Fort George, and did the marching forth of the 
troops, on the SOth of September, to meet the enemy, 
should tliey advance, retard the movement of the corps 
down the lake ? 

^. — Not in my opinion, as the troops were back again 
by sun-rise in the morning. 

27th Q. — After receiving your orders, on the 10th, 
Were you ever separated so far from General Wilkinson, 
or a superior officer, as to prevent orders from being 
communicated to you? 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 04 

^.-.Never, Sir. CHAP. 

9M/i q. — Can a cohimn advance without ranch danger, ^^^^...^.^^^^^ 
br loss, to any given point, in its front, while an enemy 
is hanging on, and harassing its rear? 

ji. — Not without that kind of loss, which soldiers are 
subject to. 

2,9th Q.— Did not the troops, on the IKh of November, 
retire from the field of battle^ without orders from Gene- 
ral Wilkinson? 

^i. — My orders from General Wilkinson were, shoidd 
the enemy advance upon us, to beat them hack. They Uescrlp- 
first attacked us in the woods; we drove them fi'om ba,,tie of 
thence, into a plain ; from the plain to a raAine, where the nth. 
their main body v as posted, from thence into an open 
space interspersed witli smaller ravines, enfiladed, and 
raked by their gun-boats. We then drove them, to 
wliere their right was under protection of tlieir gun- 
boats; and their left on a wood, lined with incorporated 
militia and Indians. Considering my orders to have 
been executed, and some of our troops giving way, I 
ordered the main body to fall back, and re-form where 
tiie action first commenced. While this was performing, 
the reserve under Colonel Upham came into the field, 
and in this situation, I was ordered (I presume) by one 
of tiie field aids, to fall* back to the boats, perhaps half a 
mile distant. Many of the boats, had already put off, 
some of which, in the early part of the action, had de- 
scended the river, near General Brown's position. 

50th (( Did you, during the action of the 11th of 

November, make any communication to General Wil- 
kinson ? 

^.—Notliing more, than that I was executing his or- 
ders, and wislied a reinforcement. I do not recollect by 
whom this informaUon was sent; but I presume, it was by 
some one of General Wilkinson's staff, or some of my own. 



* But in his official letter, he says, lie himself ordered the retreat, 
which wlis contrary to the desire, or iiUention of General Wilkinson. 
— See testimony of fiplonel Pinkney and Doctor Bull 




93 MEMOIRS BY 

SIMON LARNED, Colonel of the 9tli regiment of 
United States infantry, being sworn and examined as a 
witness, on the part of the prosecution, deposed, 

That in January, 1814, he was Colonel of the 9th re- 
giment of infantry, stationed at Greenbush, from the 1st 
April, 1813, to the 1st June, 1814, as commanding officer 
of the post. On or about the 20th November, he received 
an order from the secretary of war, " relative to prison- 
ers of war, on parole." This order has been mislaid^ 
but in substance, directed him to call in all American 
officers, prisoners of war on parole, and put them on gar- 
rison duty; as soon as lie could ascertain their places of 
residence, he notified those in district, No. 9. Among 
others, he wrote to Lieutenants Reab and Carr, on the 
24th November. The former, came to the cantonment, 
rather out of health, made no objections to doing duty ; 
but observed, he wished permission to go for his bag- 
gage, and return. The witness gave him permission; 
lie went, but did not return ; and never accounted to 
liim, until he brought an order, from General Wilkinson, 
in the following words : 

« Waterford, January IS, 181i. 

General « A military officer, is bound to obey promptly, and 

son's'or- without hesitation, every oixler he may receive, which 
dtr of does not affect his honour ; but this precious inheritance, 
1814^ must never be voluntarily forfeited, nor should any 
earthly power wrest it from him. It follows, that when 
an officer is made prisoner, and released on his parole of 
honour, not to bears arms against the enemy ; that no 
professional duties can be imposed on him, while he con- 
tinues in that condition, and under such circumstances, 
every military man, will justify him for disobedience. 

" Captain J. D. Coon, of tlie 16th infantry, and Cap- 
tain Elam Lynds, of the 29th infantry, will join their re- 
spective regiments without delay, and report to the com- 
laanding officers thereof. 

** JAMES WILKINSON." 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 93 

He further testified, tJiat he published the preceding chap. 
order, in his orderly baok, and added thereto, «< that he *'*• 
left to the discretion of officers on parole, to do duty or 
not." Lieutenant Reab did not perform any duty after 
this; and Lieutenant Carr had previously, on the 11th 
of January, 1814, declined obeying the order to perform 
duty, on the ground, that it was contrary to his parole. 

On the 18th of January, 1814, and previous to receiv- 
ing tlie order from General Wilkinson, the witness wrote 
to the latter, informing him of the nature of his orders, 
from the secretary of war. He added, that an order was 
subsequently transmitted him from the secretary of war, 
dated the 14th of February, 1814, which recited that a 
proclamation was issued by the British commander in 
chief, on the 4th of September, 1813, declaring, « that a 
parole lawfully given, does not forbid the exercise of any 
other military function, than that of bearing arms in gar- 
msoN, or in the Jield." 

The direct examination of Colonel Larned being finish- 
ed, General Wilkinson cross-examined him, as follows : 

Q. — W^ere you not ordered by General Wilkinson, in 
August, 1813, to send forward all the men at Greenbush, 
or which might thereafter arrive, belonging to General 
Hampton, t(^join his corps; and also, to send all other 
troops, at your post, to Sackett's Harbour, as soon as 
embodied, without a moment's unnecessary delay? ^nd 
were you not at the same time, ordered by him, not to put 
any officer^ or prisoner on parole, on any duty, or Junctions 
of command? 

A — I was. The order was in the words, and figures 
folio wine : 



" Albany, August ±6th, 1813. 
« Sir, 

« I have received your letter of the day, and note its General 
contents. You are hereby, authorised to appoint puch ^^'J^^"- 
officer or oiQicers, to muster and inspect the detachment dqr, of 



9* MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. Timlcr your command, and the prisoners on parole, as you 
*"■ may think proper. 

Aug- 16th " ^^' ^'^^ ™^" '^^^^ ^^ your station, or whicli may here- 
1813, for- after join you, belonging to the corps of General Hamp- 
officerf on ^^n's division, are to be sent forward to his command, as 
prole speedily as possible, and those of all other corps fit for 
ingdutv. ^®^^^ duty, are to be embodied, properly officered, and 
ordered on to Sackett's Harbour, without a moments 
unnecessary delay. 

<^< The deputy commissary of prisoners, having advised 
that tliere is no safeguard at Cheshire, for the reception 
of the prisoners, now in your charge, I recommend, that 
you should wait the arrival of the secretary of war, be- 
fore you change their present position. 

«< It is incorrect, that an officer, while a prisoner on 
J)arole, should exercise any function of commnndf and the 
practice must be discontinnedf or the enemy may charge us 
with fraud. 

« With much respect and esteem, 
<* I am, Sir, 

« Your old fellow soldier and friend, 
*< JAMES WILKINSON. 
« Colonel S. Larnedt 9th Reg. Inf." 

q. — Did you ohey tlie order of General Wilkinson, of 
the I6th of August, respecting the troops, ordered from 
Greenbush, to join General Hampton, and to march to 
Sackett's Harbour ? And if you did not obey it, what 
was the cause ? 

.f. — I did obey it, and sent the troops accordingly ? 

q. — Was the order from the war department received 
by you, in November, 1813, respecting the duties of pa- 
roled prisoners, communicated to General AVilkinson, be- 

know"tliat ^^*'® ^^^ received it, to your knowledge ? 

the war J. — Not to my knowledge. 

der^was ^' — ^° y*^" know, that General Wilkinson ever saw 

communi- the order from the war department, before he issued the 

Genera" order of the 18th January ? 

Wilkin.. .^.^^I do not. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 93 

^. — Had Lieutenant Reab arrived at the cantonment, chap, 
on the 18th, before you sent your letter, of that date, to "^' 
General Wilkinson ? 

Jl, — He had not. 

Lieutenant GEORGE REAB, of the ISth infantry, 
being sworn, as a witness, on the part of the prosecution, 
stated J 

That on the 24th of December, 1813, while a prisoner 
of war on parole, he received from Colonel Larned, an 
order, dated the 24th of November, to repair to Green- 
bush, in the following words : 

<< Cantonment) Greenhush, JVbr. 24i/t, 1813, 

« Sir, 

<« I am directed by the secretary of war, to call in all Ordered 
the American prisoners of war, on parole at or near this ^° ' fpair 

* ' . to the 

vicinity, to their post, and that the officers join them for camm- 
drilling, &c. You will, therefore, repair to the canton- p^"* ^^ 
ment at Greenbush, without loss of time. bush, 

" S. LARNED, CqI. Comdg, 
«( Lieutenant George Reabf jun.^' 

About the 20th of December he repaired to Greenbush^ 
in pursuance of the above order, and reported himself to 
Colonel Larned: made no objections to doing duty, but 
received permission to be absent a few days, to prepare 
for duty in camp. The day after General Wilkinson's 
arrival at Waterford, in January ensuing, he called on 
him, and exhibited the order received from Colonel Lar- 
ned ; General Wilkinson thought the order very impro- 
per, and afterwards, on the 18th of January, issued the 
order recited, in the first specification of the fourth 
charge. 

The witness was the bearer of the order to Greenbush, 
mid delivered it to Captjwn Melvin, in the absence of 



96 



MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP. 
Ill, 



Colonel Larned, the day, or the day but one, after its 
date. 

The witness, upon his cross-examination, stated, that 
General Wilkinson told the witness at Waterford, he 
had received no orders from the secretary of war on the 
subject. The witness signed a parole^ on the 19th No- 
vember in the following words : 



*< Quebec. 
parole.' « We promise, on honour, not to bear arms, directly 

or indirectly, against his Britannic majesty, or his al- 
lies, during the present war, until we are regularly ex- 
changed. 

« We, likewise, engage, that the under mentioned 
non-commissioned officers and privates, soldiers in the 
service of the United States, who are permitted to ac- 
company us, shall conform to the same conditions." 

The witness also acknowledged having received, the 
following letters and orders : 



Adjutant 
general 
Cushing's 
order to 
Lieute- 
nant Reab, 
to join the 
recruiting 
service. 



« Jldjutant GeneraTs Office, 

Washington Cihj, March 24th, 1813, 
« Sir, 

« It has been determined by the secretary of war, that 
commissioned officers, on parole, may he emploijed in the 
recruiting service ; and I am instructed by him, to order 
you to report yourself, to the superintending field offi- 
cers of the district in which you reside, for this duty. 
" I am. Sir, very respectfully, 
« Your obedient servant, 
« T. H. GUSHING, 
it Jdj2itant Gencrgih 

'< Ensign George Reab, ±5th Regt, Jnf. 
SaUni, JV. To'* 



CHAP. 
III. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 97 

« Mbany, 6th Jlprilt 1813. 
« Sir, 

" On receipt of this, you will repair to this place, 
where, on your arrival, you will be furnished with funds, 
and instructions for the recruiting service. 
« I am, Sir, respectfully, 
« Your obedient servant, 
« P. P. SCHUYLER, 

« Colonel ISth U. S.Inf, 

Comdg. Recruiting Dist 
•-< Ensign George Jteah, ±5th U. S. Inf. 
Salem, Washington CoJ' 

<< Adjutant ^ Inspector GeneraVs Office^ 
Washington f I4th April, 1813. 
« Sir, 

« You are released from the orders of the 24th Maj'cli 
ultimo, and the orders you may have received in conse- 
quence. You will not enter upon any military duty, un- 
til your exchange be duly notified. 

^< By order of the secretary of war. 
«* C. K. GARDNER, 

" Acting Adjutant General, 
« 3d Lieut. George Real), 13th Regt. Inf. 
Salem, JV. r." 

*' Albamj, April Qlst, 1813. 
« Sir, 

" Enclosed herewith, you will receive a letter, from 
the adjutant and inspector general's offijce, by which you 
will observe, that the general orders of the 24th March 
last, and the orders predicated tliereon, are counter- 
manded. It will be proper that you return the fundsy 
which you received from me, for the recruiting service. 

" I am, Sir, 

" Respectfully yours, 
« P. P. SCHUYLER^ 
« 3d Lieut. George Real, X3th Inf.^* 

VOL. III. N 



^ MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. The judge advocate objected, to the admission of the 
'^^' preceding* letter, on the ground, that the subsequent or- 
der to Colonel Lamed, entirely superceded these; what- 
ever facts they contain, must therefore be useless, and 
have no connexion with the accusation. The court over- 
ruled the objection. 

Examlna- JAMES THORNE being sworn and examined, as a 

tion ot "-^ 

James Witness, on the part of the prosecution, testified, 
Tlxoine. Tliat in the summer and autumn, of 1813, he was 
known as contractor's agent, and was interested in the 
contract. He was at Sackett's Harbour, in the months 
of September and October, before, and at the time the 
expedition sailed. That on the 22d September, he re- 
ceived orders from the secretartj of war,* to put on board 
of such hoatSf as the qnarter-master-general should indi- 
cate» 1,275 barrels of pork, 255,000lbs. hard bread, 10,625 
gallons whiskey, 13,600 lbs. soap, 3400 gallons vinegar, 
5,100lbs. candles, 40 barrels of salt, 5 bushels in a bar- 
rel, amounting in the aggregate, to nearly 340,000 ra- 
tions. Of this order, the following quantities were put 
on board, and receipted for, by the quarter-master-gene- 
ral, 1391 barrels jmrk, 10195 gallons whiskey, 2915^ 
gallons vinegar, 335,392 lbs. hard bread, 14,000 lbs. 
soap, 5,100 lbs. candles, and 35 barrels of salt. Tiie rea- 
son why there was a greater quantity of pork, than was 
specified, was in consequence of some alterations in the 
arrangement, relating to the gun-boats. They were put 
on board, and the quarter-mastcr-gencral thought, they 
might as well continue there. He had no other official 
order, on the subject of provisions, and the amount of 
provisions, called for, by tlie preceding order, was all at 
Sackett's Harbour, by t!ie 25th September. It could all 
have been put on board in five days; theij commenced do- 
ing it on the Q2d Septemberf or the day following, and it 



* It appears that the secretary of wnr. General Armstrong-, without 
the knowledge of the commfrnding- general, took upon himself the 
controul, cf the important department of provisions. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 99 

was continued at intervals, until the 10th October, or per- chap. 
haps longer,^ before it was all on board. The embarka- v^,v-^. 
tion was performed, under tlie direction of the quarter- 
master's department, but no particular boats were as- 
signed for that exclusive purpose ; those which contained 
the provisions, were floored, and carried troops. 

On the 23d of October, the witness readied Grenadier 
Island, undertook the issues, and took charge of the pi'o- 
visions, as he could find them j but it was impossible to 
collect, and take charge of the whole j they were so scat- 
tered in different boats. The first communication, the 
witness had with Genei'al Wilkinson, on tlie subject of 
provisions, was at Grenadier Island ; he sent for him, to 
ascertain the state of the provisions ; and it was observ- 
ed a great loss had taken place. General Wilkinson 
also made enquiries, if they had any agents down the St. 
Lawrence, near Ogdensburgh ; to make purchase of beef 
and flour, which should be wanted. The witness re- 
marked, that it was impossible, in the state of the coun- 
try, that they had no agents there; but he off*ered to fur- 
nish any quantity, at Sackett's Harbour j and General 
Wilkinson observed, that there were no transports to re- 
ceive them. The general impression was, that the great- 
est part of the actual loss of provisions, occurred between 
Sackett's Harbour, and Grenadier Island; but it was imr 
possible for him to tell exactly, how much was lost, as 
they were dispersed, in near three hundred boats; but 
from the scattered fragments, there must have been a 
considerable portion. It was reported to him, that some 
of the top barrels of bread, in some of tlie boats, were 
damaged at Sackett's Harbour, but the quantity was re- 
presented to be small. 

The witness further stated, that there were four issuing 
officers; and when they were not present. Colonel Ma- 

* From this witness, we discover the provisions v/ere not embark- 
ed, until the 10th October; yet the Quarter-master-general Swart- 
wout, swears, that every thing was ready, at Sackett's Harbour, for a 
movement on the 4th, 



100 MEMOIRS BY 

CHA.P, colnb*s regiment, and one or two othei*s, in the passage 
*^' from Sackett's Harbour, down the St. Lawn*ence, helped 
themselves with provisions, out of the boats, through the 
regimental quarter-masters ; and afterwards made their 
returns, and accounted for them, at Salmon River. It 
was impossible, for an issuing officeip, to be always pre- 
sent. The provisions on board the boats, w ere not under 
the command of an officer, of his department. 

Agreeable to the order of General Wilkinson, at 
French Creek, he, and his assistant, went round to the 
different boats, counted the contents, and near as they 
could, made a statement, on the 4th of Noveijiber, which 
amounted to. 



»i* Urtucj 


lo urciiu, f 


104,468 ] 


rations. 


12 do. 


flour, J 






548 do. 


pork. 


159,466 


do. 


20 do. 


salt. 


160,000 


do. 


167 do. 


whiskey. 


187,140 


do. 


£0 do. 


vinegar. 


80,000 


do. 


37 boxes candles. 


83,000 


do. 


10 do. 


soap. 


22,500 


do. 



There was an average of three days rations, issued, 
exclusive of the above. The actual loss of provisions, 
exclusive of the rations, issued during the expedition^ 
from the Harbour to French Mills, was about an average 
of 150,000 rations. 

The witness added, that after their arrival at Grena- 
dier Island, he sent their boat to Sackett's Harbour, and 
procured 140 barrels of flour, in addition to the first esti- 
mate. At Hamilton, they took in 95 barrels of flour, 
and a quantity of fresh beef. Several boats with provi- 
sions, broke loose from Grenadier Island, drifted across 
the bay, and were MTecked, Most of the provisions in 
them were lostj but some of it was brought back. He 
does not know, of any provisions being left on shore, by 
oflUcers during the expedition 5 nor of any being wanton* 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 101 

Jy wasted.* He stated, that he complained to General chap. 
Swartwout, of the damage of provisions ; the troops hav- ^"• 
ing taken the oil cloths from the casks, and the rain 
having in consequence injured the bread. 

The court adjourned to Wednesday, the 8th February, 
i 81 5, at 10 o'clock, A. M. 

Troy, February Stlif 1815. 

The court convened pursuant to adjournment. 

The examination, of James W. Thorne, being resum- 
ed, he further testified^ 

That he cannot of his own knowledge, say, whether 
any provisions were left on shore, by officers command- 
ing in boats. It was reported to him, that provisions 
were left, but he does not know what quantity. TJie pro- 
visions were issued from the boats, and therefore, it was 
impossible for him to tell, from the state of the casks on 
hoard, what might have been regularly issued, and what 
was taken out without his authority. They might have 
taken a number of casks, and he m)t know it. 

Q.— You stated, that some of the boats drifted across' 
the bay, from Grenadier Island, and were wrecked. Was 
this caused by want of care, and attention, in tliose who 
had the management? 

^. — It happened during the night, and there were sen- 
tries along the shore, who he presumed had charge of the 
boats, and it was said, they had not done their duty : on© 
instance occurred in the day tiraej the quarter-master 
was ordered to take the boats, round the point of the 
island, where the issues were made; the pilot was not 
ready, und the quarter-master, Mr. Robinson, presuming 
he could do it with the crews, made the attempt; the 
wind drove them over to Fox Island, and the provisions 
were mostly lost. 

Many of the boats were hauled on shore, and several 
hundred barrels of provlsionjs, were there deposited^ 

* Yet the Quarter-master-general Swartwout has sworn, that this 
witness made frequent complaints of tlie piUage, and destruction of 
provigiogf , by Uie trgops. 



IQg MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, while the boats were repairing : many of them dragged 
'"• anchor, in the harbour, owing to the violent gale of 
wind. 

Prior to the 21st or 22d of September, he did not re- 
ceive any orders, from General Wilkinson, to prepare 
provisions for the expedition; but made occasional re- 
turns, of the provisions in deposit, to the commanding 
officer of the post. On the 25th of September, the pro- 
visions were all in readiness, and between that and the 
4th of October, the weather was very fine for several 
days. 

The witness added, that the issuing agents considered 
themselves authorised, to take provisions, from any o$" 
the boats. It had been his first intention, to turn the 
provisions over to the United States, and let them attend 
to the issuing ; but General Swartvvout requested him to 
go along; he accordingly accompanied the expedition, 
assumed the whole losses^* and procured the necessary affi- 
davits and vouchers, to substantiate the same. These were 
jnade by two persons, his agents, Messrs. Mather and Mns- 
worth. He afterwards understood from Mr. Anderson, 
that General Swartwout had examined, and sanctioned 
them. They were then transmitted to the war depart- 
ment, to found a claim for indemnity. After General 
Swartwout had receipted for them, at Sackett's Harbour, 
they were again turned over to the witness : the quarter- 
master-general requested his receipt; but he told him it 
was impossible : it however was the same thing, as if he 
had receipted^ for them, by the tenor of his contract, 
with the United States, the following agreement was 
made, to wit : 

*« That £dl losses sustained by the depredations of an 
enemy, or by means of the troops of the United States, 

* This witness, the contractor himself, the pei'son immediately in- 
terested, swears, that he made himself accountable for losses; and yet 
the quarter-master general, Swartwout, has sworn, (hat the provisions' 
belonged to the United States. 

t What a juggle do we here behold ! 



GENERAL WILKINSON. lOS 

in articles intended to compose rations,* to be issued un- CHAP, 
der this contract, bein.^ the property of the contractor, "' 
as weli as in other property, necessarily used in trans- 
porting the same, shall be paid for at the contract price 
of the rations, or the component parts, and at an ap- 
praised value of the other articles, on the deposition of 
one or more creditable characters, and the certificate of 
a commissioned officer, when the same can be obtained, 
ascertaining, the circumstances of the loss, and the 
amount of tlie articles, for which compensation is 
claimed." 

Question by the court, — Do you know on what day of* 
November, the army arrived at French Mills, and what 
number of day's rations then remained ? 

Jl. — The army arrived on the 12th of November, at 
Barnhart's, where the following return was made : 

« Cornwall f Canada, JSTo'c. 19.th, 1813. 
« Sir, 

<« I have to inform you, that the requisition ordered to Contrac. 
be delivered, by the secretary of war, to the quarter- ^^^^^ ^f' 
master-general, dated the 22d of S,eptember, is now re- the rations 
duced to, ^^""^JoIk 

' ing, 12th 

54,460 rations, bread and flour. -Nov. 181?. 



86,933 


do. 


pork. 


105,659 


do. 


vinegar. 


240,000 


do. 


salt. 


21,000 


do. 


candles. 



* Eat by the contractor's own testimony, it appears, his provisiou 
was chiefly lost, by storms and tempests, between Sackett's Harbour 
and Grenadier Island; not "by the depredations of an enemy, or by 
means of the troops." Yet, the quarter-master-general, Svvartwout, 
made no hesitation, to give a certificate to indemnify the contractor, to 
the amount of 5525,000 ; and this, after General Wilkinson had posi- 
tively refused, to certify the same estimate, presented by the con- 
tractor to him; in this instance it would seem, the commander was 
more tenacious of the public treasure, than the quarter-master- 
jrencral. • 




iQ4i MEMOIRS BY 

ff As you are sensible of the deficiency, and of the 
cause, of the small quantity of provisions remaining on 
hand, it is unnecessary for me to make any remarks. 
<« I have the honour to be, 

« Your obedient humble servant, 
« J. W. THORNE." 

Beefpro- The witness next stated, that about one thousand 
cured at pounds of becrf, was procured at Barnhart's, by the quar- 
hart's. ter-master*s department, and turned over to the contrac- 
tor. More came to the army, consisting of several head 
of cattle ; how many he does not know ; they never came 
into his possession. 

The direct examination of the witness being finished. 
General Wilkinson proceeded to question him, as fol- 
lows : 

1st Q. — Did the contractor, or his agent, make any 
application to General Wilkinson, at Sackett's Harbour, 
for the transport of the army provisions ? 

^. — I believe not ; I do not recollect having any com- 
munication, with General Wilkinson, until at Grenadier 
Island. 

Qd Q.— Did General Wilkinson shew an indifference, 
in any case, within your knowledge, to the interest of 
the service ? 

^. — Not to my knowledge ; I had no great opporta- 
nity of knowing. 

3d Q.— Did you not apply to him, to sign an abstract, 
for the lost and damaged provisions ? Did he not refuse, 
and for what reason ? 
General •^' — I ^^^ ^t Plattsburgl) ; but he refused, saying, he 
Wilkinson jid uot order the provisions shipped ; that they were 
certify for shipped by order of the secretary of war ; and he was 
lost and not acquainted with the circumstance of the loss. 
proY?^ 4f/i q. — Did you see, or know, of General Wilkinson's 
sions. being intoxicated;) during the campaign of 1813 ? 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 105 

«^.— I never did; I saw him perhaps half a dozen chap. 
times, and then on business. ^^^• 

5th Q. — Did you ever hear, or know, of General Wil- j^t y 
kinson abusing the army, during the campaign of, ISlSj General 

j,.-i did not. Sr°" 

Qth (^. — Did you not see General Wilkinson frequent- cated— 
Jy during that period, and was he not in very ill healtli ? about half 

J — I saw him at the times mentioned before, and he » ' zen 
appeared very unwell. times. 

7th ^. — ^As the provisions were issued, what became 
©f the empty casks ? 

w3.— I neA^er saw the casks, after they issued the provi- 
sions, but presume they were left behind. 

8th ^. — Might not a passenger, or person not parti- 
cularly interested, mistake an empty cask for a full 
one, it being customary to take out but one head at a 
time ? 

A. — It is possible he might. 

9th Q. — You have said, there were sentries posted 
along the shore, who appeared to have charge of the 
boats : Was it possible for a sentry, or even a captain's 
guard, to have prevented tlie boats of the quarter-master, 
Robinson, from drifting across the bay to Fox Island? 

A. — I think it might have been prevented, by warp- 
ing the boats round the point ; but, after getting loose 
from the shore, it was not possible, to prevent their drift- 
ing across. 

lOth Q. — Was it not absolutely necessary, to land a 
quantity of provisions, to repair the damaged boats at 
Grenadier Island ? And was there any house, or shelter, 
to cover it. 

Ji. — It was necessary ; and tliere was no house, or 
shelter, except the painted cloths. 

llth Q What was the contractor allowed by the 

United States, for the issues of provisions in tne cam- 
paign ? 

.4. — He was allowed by the contract, 17| cents per ra- 
tion; and wlien provisions are issued from deposits, 1 cent 
for issuing, and 12| per cent, for wastage. 
vot. III. O 



106 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. I2.th ^. — AVas either Mr. Mather or Mr. Ainswortli, 
*°' interested, directly, or indirectly, in tlie contract ? 

^. — They were not, but were both on salary. 

13th Q. — Was not the night, on vvhicli the boats drift- 
ed from their moorings, so tempestuous and dark, that it 
was almost impossible to distinguish any thing, by sound 
or sight ? 

^. — You could see a boat, but not a hundred yards dis- 
tant. It was a most violent gale of wind, and the night 
very dark and stormy. 

Question by the court.' — How was the loss of provisions 
ascertained ? 

w3. — By adding the amount of the issues on the pas- 
sage, to the amount of provisions on hand at Blanhart's, 
and deducting the sum from the whole quantity fur- 
Hished.* 

* By this method, the absence of the provisions may be ascertahied; 
hut does it shew, they had been lost, or concealed, or made the sub- 
ject of peculation. I do not mean to question the integrity of Mr. 
Thorne, because I think him an honest man ; but I desire to expose, 
the defective arrangements, to use no harsher term, of the secretary, 
Armstrong, andSwartwout, the quarter-master-general, by which the 
public treasure is liable to be dissipated, without check or restraint 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 107 



CHAP. 
IV. 



CHAPTER IV. 

Testimony of Dr. W. M. Ross, hospital surgeon, U. S. 
army. — States that he was superintemknt of the hospital 
department, at Sackett's Harbour. — Makes a requisition 
mi the qxiarter -master -general, for hospital stores. — ^uar- 

tcr-master-generaVs reply JVb hospital stores put under 

his charge. — .Spplies to Doctor Bull, respecting tents left 

at SackclVs Harbour. Doctor BulUs answer. — Doctor 

Ross, on his arrival at French Mills, makes a report re- 
pecting hospital stores, ascertained to be lost. — Knoxvs of 
no provision wasted, or left on shore. — His application 
for list of stores, and for boats, which he could not obtain. 
— Bad provisions great cause of sickness. — Reports bad 
provisions to General Brown. — Signed receipts for blan- 
kets, but never received them. — Fruitless application to 
General Swartwout, for transport and medical stores for 
the sick. — Sick and wounded suffer at French Mills, for 

want of them. Produces the secretary of war*s order, 

respecting the apothecary'^s department.— ^General Wilkin- 
son^ s general order, enjoining particular attention to the 

sick and wounded General Swartwoufs insinuations 

against General Wilkinson. — Testimony or Major- 
general Morgan Lewis. — Produces a letter from 
General Wilkinson, dated 6th July, 1813. — -General 
Lewises narrative. — State of the weather, from the Sth 
to the ISthof October. — First part of the expedition sails. 
— Commodore Chauncey's fleet sails for the Ducks.-— 
Storm rages, from the 8th to the 20th October. — JVo de- 
lay ascribable to the commander in chief. — Describes the 
approach of the enemy. — Estimates the enemy^s force at 
about 500 men Cross-examination. — General Wilkin- 
son exposes the objects of the campaign, to a council of 
war. — State of General Wilkinson's health. — His exer- 
tions to hasten the progress of the expedition. — Plans 
digested to meet every contingency Conversation be- 
tween the witness, and Generals Brown and Swartwmt. 



103 



MEMOIRS BY 



Introduces Colonel King to General Wilkinson. — General 
Wilkinson^s exclamation^ explained. — Obstacles to the 
movement of the army on the llth, stated Conversa- 
tion between the secretary of war and the witness, co«r 
ceming the letter of the 6th July, ISiS.^Gemral Wil- 
kinson represents the necessity of harmony, in the differ- 
ent departments. — Jfter the storm had continued two or 
three days, secretary of war in favour of going to Mon- 
treal, General Wilkiiisonfor an attack on Kingston. 



CHAP. 
IV. 

Testimo- 
ny of Dr. 
Ross. 



Bequisi- 
<ion for 
hospital 
stores. 



W. M. ROSS, hospital surgeon in the army of the 
, United States, being sworn and examined as a witness, 
on the part of the prosecution, testified, 

That in September, 1813, he was superintendent of 
the hospital department, at Sackett's Harbour; that he 
prepared medicines, medicine chests, and surgical instru- 
ments by the 15th September, sufficient for the general 
hospital, as he understood there was to be an expedition. 
These were all packed up, and ready for transportation. 
To the best of his recollection, he did not do this by or- 
der, but as a matter of duty, he being superintendent of 
the department. General Wilkinson did not give him 
any order, or specific instructions, on the subject. 

He also, on the 20th of September, made requisitions 
on the quarter-master for hospital stores, for the con- 
templated expedition. The quarter-master replied a» 
follows : 



« My dear Sir, 

The quar- a I return inclosed, your requisition without remark; 
ter-mas- a i.- r i> • • \ , ■•• rr> 

ter gene- ^n retiection, 1 am oi opinion, that the commanding om- 

ral'sreply. cer of the post, is the proper person to consult on the 

quantity of stores, that will be necessary for the intended 

expedition. 

*« I am, with great regard, 

" Your friend, 

" ROBERT SWARTWOUT. 

<•' Dr. W. J\I. Ross, Hospital Siprgeon. 

« Sackett's Harbour, Z5th Sept. 1813." 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 109 

His requisition was not acted upon, and no hospital chap. 
stores were delivered to him, or put under his immediate ^^ • 
controulj nor any list of the articles shipped, given to 
him. He found these stores, were placed in gun-boats 
and batteaux. Some of the troops, embarked on the 16th 
October; and a morning or two after, going round the 
camp with Colonel Brearly, he saw a number of hospital 
tents on the ground, for which, he knew, regimental sur- 
geons had receipted to him. Being apprehensive these 
would be lost, and tliat the stores, from their situation, 
might be wasted or lost, he called upon Doctor Bull, and 
represented the circumstance to him. In consequence of 
this, he received the following order : 

« Head Quarters, SackeWs Harbour , 

20th October, 1813. 

« Dear Sir, 

« General Wilkinson directs tliat you will employ any Dr. Bull's 

competent person, on wliom you can relv, for the faith- ^^^^^^' . 
* * •' '' ' conveying 

ful performance of his duties, to take charge of the hos- General 

pital stores attached to the expedition, of which, as hos- ^''|^'"" 

pital surgeon, you have the superintendence. ders on 

« By order. '^^ '"^- 



*' I am, very respectfully, 

" Your obedient servant, 
" G. W. BULL. 

•« Doctor RosSf Hospital Surgeon,*' 

In pursuance of the preceding order, he appointed a 
man to take charge of all such as came into his hands ; 
but tlie general hospital stores were so dispersed in diffe- 
rent boats, that he never had charge of them. Having 
never had a list, he does not know what proportion was 
lost, or shipped; but on the 14th or 15th of November, 
at Frencii Mills, he saw thrown ashore, a number of 
empty casks and empty tea canisters, marked hospital 
stores; some of the casks had contained brandy and 
wine: others were tapped in a number of places. During 
tlic expedition, he did not represent the loss to Genera! 



ject. 



110 



MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP. 
IV. 

After his 
arrival at 
French 
Creek, re- 
ports the 
loss of 
hospital 
stores. 
Knows of 
110 waste 
of provi- 
sions, or 
that any 
were left 
on shore. 



Gross-ex- 
amination 



Wilkinson, as he could not do so, before he knew if. 
After his arrival at French Mills, he made a report on 
the subject. 

He further testified, tliat during the expedition, he did 
not see any provisions wasted, or left on shore to his 
knowledge. At French Creek, he called upon Gcncrai 
Wilkinson, in consequence of an order, respecting a flag 
to designate the hospital boat. He had prepared a flag, 
and wished to have it authorised; and also wished to 
know about the hospital stores, which were dispersed in 
the fleet. Agreeably to the order, a number of boats 
were assigned, for the hospital department. On his ap- 
plication for the flag. General Wilkinson observed, 
i' damn the hospital department." After a pause, he 
added, " they have got a flag, I saw it flying this morn- 
ing." After this exclamation. General Wilkinson ob- 
served, " there it is, I see it now." General Wilkinson 
was sick at the time, and oppressed with business. 

On the subject of the weather, he cannot speak posi- 
tively. Between the 25th September and 4th October, 
there were no severe storms, but a great deal of high 
winds from the south-west. 

To a question of the court, tlie witness replied, he 
never was called to receive the hospital stores, nor fur- 
nished with inventories of them, nor had he any trans- 
portation under his immediate command. He made fre- 
quent application for a list of stores, and for boats; but 
.Major Brown repliedf that he could not furnish them,^- 

The direct examination being finished, the witness 
was cross-examined by General Wilkinson, as follows ; 



1st Q. — Were you not subject to the orders of Doctor 
Tilton, surgeon general, and was he not at Sackett's 
Harbour, in September, 1813? 



* Notwithstunding this declaration of Doctor Ross, Quarter-mas- 
ter-general Svvartwout swears, that tlicse stores were in charge of the 
hospital surgeon. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. Ill 

j5. — I think Doctor Tilton, was there in September; chap. 
and I was subject to liis orders. 

2d ^. — By whom was you first appointed, to attend 
the expedition under General Wilkinson? 

^. — I was appointed by the secretary of war, with the 
concurrence of Doctor Tilton, on the 4th of October.* 
General Wilkinson arrived tho same afternoon. 

Sd q, — You have said, that when you applied to Gene- 
ral Wilkinson about a flag, he damned the hospital de- 
partment, and said it had a flagj and after a pause, ob- 
served, "there it is, I see it now." Will you say. Sir, whe- 
ther the expression appeared to be a deliberate sentiment 
of the heart, or a hasty exclamation, without reflection, 
such as might be natural to a man in ill health, and un- 
der a pressure of business ? 

Jl. — It appeared to be a hasty expression ; perhaps it, 
was nothing more than an exclamation. General Wil- 
kinson was ill, and under a pressure of business. 

4th ^.— What was the quality of the provisions ship- Bad flour, 
ped at Sackett's Harbour, for the expedition ? And did gj^^f ^^^ 
you ever complain of them, and to whom? causes of 

J. — The flour was very bad, produced disease, and netsTt'^the 
was one of the great causes, of the ill health of the army. army. 
The whiskey and bread were also bad : I saw in the lat- whiskey 
ter some excrement, which I shewed to General Brown, f"^ bread 

bad also. 

5th q. — At Sackett's Harbour, or during the passage Reports 
to French Mills, did you make any report to General ^^^l P'""" 

" ^ 1. visions to 

Wilkinson, respecting the badness of the provisions ? General 

^.— No. On the 18th of September, / made one to Ge- ^^■°"'"' 
neral Brown, commanding at Sackett*s Harbour.f 

6th q. — When you exposed your requisition for hos- 
pital stores, to the secretary of war, did he make any re- 
marks ? 



* Another instance of the interference, of the secretary of war. Ge- 
neral Armstrong-, with General Wilkinson's command; and of tlie 
usurpation of an authority not belonging to him. 

t A circumstance never hinted to General Wilkinson, by anv* per- 
son whatever. 



11^ MEMOIRS BY 

CH\p. ^.— He thought the number of blankets, and the qn&n- 
^^' tity of brandy was very large : there was not one half 



the quantity on hand, and the secretai'y directed me to 
ask the quarter-master, to send him a return of what 
v/as on hand. 

7th ^, — Did you make any report or application to 
General Wilkinson, respecting your department, before 
the 17th or 18th of October; and was not the expedition 
under orders of sailing, from Sackett's Harbour, on or 
before the 4th of October ? 

A. — I made frequent representations, through Doctor 
Bull, to General Wilkinson, and received information 
from him, how I should act. I understood, there were 
orders for sailing, and when General Wilkinson arrived, 
they were countermanded. 

Sth Q. — Were there any number of blankets, furnished 
you, fur the use of the hospital 2 

Si.^nsre- ^. — I never received any : but receipted for them, and 

blankets "ever afterwards saw them. 

but never gth ^. — Who had tlie issuing of hospital stores during 

obtains ., .... , 

them, the expedition : 

^. — Johnson H. Preble, the person I appointed, had 
tlie issuing of the hospital stores, which were with me, in 
the small boat. 

10th Q. — Under whose care were the hospital stores, 
generally, on the expedition ? 

Jl. — I do not know. 

The court adjourned to Feb. 9th, 1815, at 10 o'clock^, 
A.M. 

Troijf February 9f/i, 1815. 
The court convened pursuant to adjournment. 
The cross-examination of William M. Ross was re- 
sumed : 

11th Q. — Had you any particular conversation, with 
Brigadier-general Swartwout, respecting transport, du- 
ring the expedition of, 1813 ? 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 113 

A, — I made frequent application to General Swart- chap. 
wout, for transpoii for the si( k, and for hospital vStores, 
at numerous [)Iares ; the last, in particular, at Grena(iier Hospital 
Island, after an order from Genei*al Lewis. General suiKeon, 
Swartvvout replied, that he had none; that ovvinj^- to the qJemap-" 
delays, the bad weather had come on, and Omnipotence plications 
alone could furnish transportation, for an army com- port, and 
posed of such discordant materi ls« He also informed ''osp'f^'p 

J. Ill • 1 i-i 1 r.T..i . Stores, fojf 

me, tiiat he had a conversation with (jeneral Wilkinson, sjck, but 
respecting the hospital stores, being pilfered by the men ; "^^t'^"^ 
and that General Wilkinson had remarked, he could 
hold no officer responsible for them. Tlse witness fur- 
ther stated, that if he had had transports, he could save 
thein. 

This was mentioned as a precautionary thing, but 
they began to pilfer tlie stores, before the expedition 
sailed, from Grenadier Island ; and he apprehended, that 
without having the transports, they would be lost. 

12i/t ^. — Had you any particular conversation with 
General Swartwout, respecting huts fur the sick and 
wounded ? Say when, and where ? 

The judge advocate objected to the preceding question. Judge ad- 
On the ground of its leading to an enquiry, not connected obkction* 
with tb.e prosecution: also to questions No. 14, lo, 16, to certuin 
17, 19, 20, 21, 24, 25, 26, and 27, as irrelevant to the '^^^^'■^*'"^" 
case; and on the rule of law, that general character, can 
only be enquired into, and not particular facts, to affect 
the credit of the witness. 

Tlic court being cleared, after weighing the objections Decision 

urged, decided, that questions No. 12, 15, 19, 20, 21,24, «^^^f 
^ ^ ' ' ' ' court. 

25, and 26, are inadmissible, but overruled the objections 
to the remainder, v.hich follow. 

loth q. — Did you make any report to General Wil- 
kinson, or the surgeon general, respecting the sick and 
wounded ? 

Ji. — I made a report, on our arrival at French Mills, sick and 
dated November 15th, 1813. During the expedition and ^^^preS 

VOL. III. P 



114j memoirs by 

CHAP, afterwards, I also made repeated application to the quar- 
^^' ter- master-general, for the hospital stores,but had not been 
Mills suf- ^^^^ ^^ obtain them ; and the sick and wounded at French 
fering for Mills, were suffering for want of them. 
hospital 1^^^ Q* — ^^^ ^^^' qwarter-master-generai possession of 
stores. the hospital stores, after the troops arrived at French 
Mills J 

,4. — He had. A return of stores on hand, was made 
to me at French Mills, on the 20th of November, from 
the assistant quarter- master, Mr. Tapper, but without 
signature or date, and is the same now exhibited. 

16th Q. — Will you produce your reports of your de- 
partment, to General Wilkinson, and tlie surgeon ge- 
neral ? 

A. — (The witness exhibited his reports.) 
±7th Q. — Did you ever receive a circular order, from 
the secretary of war, respecting the apothecary's depart- 
ment? When, and where? 
Secretary *^' — I did on the 13th of December; it was dated the 
of war's 26th of November, 1813, and is the same now shewn. 

order, re* 

specting 18/^ ^. — What became of the hospital tents, you saw 
the apo- on the ground, at Sackett's Harbour ? 

thecary s . , . . . 

depart- •^' — 1 do not know. 

ment, pro 22(1 ^ — Did you ever hear General Wilkinson abuse 
the army ? And v/as he negligent of the sick and wound- 
ed, or regardless of their accommodation ? 
General Ji. — I do not know that I ever heard General Wilkin- 

Wilkinson g^j^ abuse the army ; nor tliat lie was nefflisrent of the 

issues a ^ •' ' o o 

general sick and wounded : on the contrary, in a general order, 
i'ofn'in/" by him issued, he refcommended that particular attention 
particular be paid to them. 

tolhe"" 23J q — Have you any evidence of the conduct of nffi- 
sick and cers commanding the gun boats, respecting the hospital 
stores ? 

A. — None; except from the information or certificates 
of otliers ? 

27th q. — Did General Swartwout, make use of any 
language to you, calculated to prejudire you against Ge- 
neral Wilkinson, and to throw the blame of the neglect 



wounded. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 115 

of the hospital stores, on General Wilkinson ? Will you CHAP, 
state what General Swartwout said to you, on the subject? 

A. — After I had made a report, respecting the state of 
the army, dated December 8th, 1813, General Swartwout 
told racj that General Wilkinson ^ew into a violent pas- 
sion, 07i recei-cing it: that he threatened to have me dismisS' 
ed the service; but General Swartwout added, that I need 
not mind, he could not injure me, as General Wilkinson 
was low enough with the govertinient. Ht^ further stated, 
that General Wilkinson, xvas always opposed to my going 
"With the expedition. He asked me, what I had been doing 
to the old man, as there was a hell of a blow up at Ma^ 
lo7ie,* 

QSth ^. — Was you the senior surgeon at Sackett's Har- 
bour ? 

»4. — Doctor Pendergast was my senior, and was at 
Brownsville, and occasionally at Sackett's Harbour. 

Major-general ^lORGAN LEWIS, being sworn and Testimo- 
examined, as a witness, on the part of the prosecution, Major- 
stated, general 

That in the summer of 1813, he held a commission in Lewis. 
the United States army, with the rank of Major-general. 
In the early part of the month of June, he was stationed 
at Fort George, in July at Sackett's Harbour ; that at 
the latter place, he received from Major-general Wilkin- 
son, a letter in the following words : 

<' Milled geville, Georgia, 

July 6th, 1813. (evening) 
« My dear Lewis, 

" I have just arrived here, with my scalp, after pass- General 
ing the Creek nation, with some peril and more anxiety, soi^^'s'l^et, 

• It is scarcely credible, that a man, wearing the garb of honour, 
could have descended to such low and vile misrepresentation, to ex- 
cite hostility, against his commanding officer; yet this conduct, was 
not confined to General Swartwout; a conspiracy had already been 
formed against General Wilkinson, and here we have a strong indica- 
tion of it. 



416 IVllEMOmS BY 

CHAP, than lialf a dozen, vmU fought battles could produce. I 

^^ shall pi'f'ss forward to join you, prepared to mingle judg- 

^ X , ment, and counsels, and blood, and life, (if ncressary") 

ter, July . 

6th, 1813. in the common cause of our country; in the mean time, 

if near General Dearborn, tell him, I shall take his or- 
ders with pleasure, and will sujjpoit them, in any extre- 
mity which can occur, to the best of my abiiitifs. I deep- 
ly regret the loss of my friend Pike, and if revenge was 
not an unmanly sentiment, I should indulge the desire to 
avenge his death — his untimely death. iTet we nmst all 
die, aud when so pleasantly or honourably, as on the field 
of battle in a good cause, sucii as ours is. Farewel, ray 
friend, and remember, a general officer does not expose 
liis person, but in the last resort. Subordinates execute, 
while chiefs command : to mingle in the conflirt, is to 
abandon the power of direction. Why are so few French 
generals killed, in their sanguinary battles? Because they 
know themselves to be master workmen, and know how 
to direct their journeymen : while giving the general di- 
rection, they hold in reserve selected corps, to watch 
the tide of battle, always ready to improve an advantage, 
or retrieve a misfortune. 

«* God preserve you until we meet, aud may victory 
attend your steps. 

*< Ever yours — farewel ! 

« JAMES WILKINSON, 
«< Major-general Lexvis" 

This letter was forwarded to him, through the war de- 
partment; it having been sent open, under cover, to the 
secretai-y of war. The witness commanded a division of 
the army, at Fort George, under General Dearborn, who 
gent him to Sackett's Harbour ? He left this on the 28th 
of August, and returned on the 23d of September fol- 
lowing • assumed the command on the 24th from General 
Brown. 

At this stage of the examination, the judge advocate 
applied to Major-general Wilkinson, to produce a docu- 
ment, containing the original plan of the campaign, of 



GENERAL WILKINSON. II7 

1813, or to allow parole evidence of its contents. M^Ar- chap. 
thun vol. 2, page 61. *^* 

Upon which, it was agreed by consent, that the report ^^^^ 
of the secretary of war, dated 25th of January, 1814, and mentscon- 
published by order of Congress, be admitted as prima \]^^l^'^^^ 
facie evidence, as far as the documents contained there- of secreta- 
in, relate to this trial. ^ J^^;;."'' 

The court adjourned to Feb. 10th, 1815, 10 o'clock, ^ress, ad- 

A M milted as 

•^* ^^** evidence, 

by consent 

Troy, Februarij 10th, 1815. °^ P^"'^^' 

The court convened pursuant to adjournment. 

The examination, of Major-general Lewis, being re- General 
sumed, he testified, on his arrival at Sackett's Harbour, Lewis's 
he found that orders had been issued, previously, by the 
secretary of war, preparatory to an expedition, and to 
embark the provisi<ms. The secretary informed him, 
that this was in consequence of a communication, from 
General Wilkiiiscm, dated the 27th September, 1813, in 
which he intimated, that he would just look in at the 
Harbour, visit it en passant, and that Grenadier Island, 
was to be the place of general rendezvous. On the 4tli 
day of October, all at the Harbour was pi-epared for em- 
barkatir)n ; the provisions were on board the transports ; 
the artillery also, except one piece, which had no car- 
riage to suit it. Whether all the gun boats were in rea- 
diness, he could not tell ; nor whether the troops were 
actually embarked; as the line of embarkation extended 
to Horse Island.* There were a sufficient number of 
gun boats prepared, as he thought, to answer the pur- 
poses of covering his division. The weather, on this 
day, was fair, and would admit of their sailing, though 
they, generally, had high winds. The severe tempes- 
tuous weather, did not commence, until the night of the 
8th of October, They had very frequent blows before 
that, but unaccompanied with hail and rain. On the 4th 
of October, the weather was not such, as to have exposed 

* Two miles. 



118 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, the transports to peril, if they liad sailed. On the 5th, 
^^* the wind was on shore, the boats would have been obliged 
Staie of *" ^^^^ ^"*' ^^^ those that rowed, might have found it 
thewea- difficult to proceed, as the surge was high. On the 6th, 
thr4thto^ the fleet came in with a fine spanking breeze: the 7th, 
the 8th of was generally employed, in taking care of the prisoners ; 
^^° ^'^' the 8th was hazy, and threatening ; towards evening, 
the wind freshened, and shortly after, the rain com- 
menced ; during the night, it became tempestuous, and 
nothing could have cleared the harbour. They knew no- 
thing of the two fleets, until Commodore Chauncey ar- 
rived on the 6th. After General Wilkinson's arrival, by 
his direction, the witness issued an order, to delay the 
embarkation of the division, on account of the opinion. 
Opinions which was entertained by them, and concurred in, by the 
°' ? w^i secretary of ivar, that, under existing circumstances, it 
kinson would not be expedient to proceed ; nor safe to venture 
concurred "»t, without the protection of the fleet. General Wilkin - 
in by the son's expression on this point, was, why would you risk 
of war^*^^ yourself on an island, where you would subject yourself 
to be enterpriscd upon by the enemy, and consume the 
provisions necessary for the expedition ? 
Account The expedition sailed by detachments : the first detach- 
sailitTe' of ^^^U under tlie command of Colonel Bissell, on the 16th 
the first or 17th of October, from Henderson's Bay. The fleet, 
mem of wliich entered on tlie 6th, after taking in provisions, 
the expe- sailed on the 16th, as he believes, and proceeded towards 
Fleetsails. ^^e Ducks, which, he understands, commands the pas- 
sage into Kingston harbour; in which, it was stated, the 
Britisli fleet were at that time. On the 18th, 19th, and 
20th, there were heavy gales of wind, which dispersed 
the troops. 

General Covington's brigade, which sailed on the 8th, 
was scattered, and as he understood, one boat was lost, 
with one or two of the people. General Macomb's regi- 
ment, which sailed on the 19th, was also dispersed. The 
storm, which commenced on the night of the 8th, conti- 
nued with very little intermission until the 20th. He 
thinks, there was no interval in that period, suScient for 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 119 

the troops to have embarked, and proceeded with safety chap. 
to Greriailier Island. v^^^-vs^ 

The principal embarkation, was on the morning of the 
21st, and the witness sailed in the afternoon of that day. 
Captain Archer, who followed him in a schooner, in con- 
sequence of the gale, and being nnable to work to wind- 
ward, was obliged to put back. General Wilkinson, hav- 
ing a better vessel, succeeded in getting a head. The 
master of the schooner, in which the witness sailed, 
being unable to weather Point Peninsula, made for Stony 
Island, which they reached with great difficulty, on ac- 
count of the winds dying away. On stretching again by 
Point Peninsula, they descried fires along shore, for a 
consid'^rable distance up Chaumon Bay, made as they 
presumed by the troops, which had been obliged to land. 
Sometime before day, on the morning of the 22d, he ar- 
rived at Grenadier Island; distant eighteen miles from 
Sackett's Harbour. Detachments of the general embar- 
kation continued to arrive, until the 3d of November; on 
which day, one scow, as he understood, with heavy artil- 
lery, came up, which had started from Sackett's Harboisr, 
the 21st. Many of the boats were very much injured, 
and required repairs. 

On the morning of the 22d, General Wilkinson, hear- 
ing of the situation of the troops and transports, returned 
in the Lady of the Lake, lie believes as far as Sackett's 
Harbour, to ascertain their true condition. 

The detachments on Grenadier Island, were forward- Knows of 
ed, with as much despatch as was practicable; and he ""ance of 
knows of no instance of neglect, on tlie part of General neglect,on 
W'ilkinson; though there might have been instances, in Ge^neral" 
the subordinate officers. The contractor and quarter- Wilkin^ 
master-general, had no one to represent their respective 
departments, on Grenadier Island; as upon enquiry he 
could find none. 

The moining of the 23d of October, witness remarked^ 
that there appeared to be every disposition, in the com- 
mandants of corps, to hasten their departure, and per- 
form their duty. 



MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. On the Sd of Novembpr, General Wilkinson and the 
'^ witness, sail< d from Grenadier Island, in their respective 
schooners. The Growler and Pert went ashore, but 
shortly after got off. The Growler having on board. 
Colonel Randolph's regiment, consisting of about 230 
men, grounded a second time, and was abandoned. The 
witness arrived the same day, in the afternoon, at French 
Creek, and on his passage, saw three or four large bat- 
teaux on shore, near Gravelly Point. The afternoon 
was spent by General Wilkinson and himself, in altering 
the flag to designate the several brigades, regiments, and 
corps; which had become necessary, owing to the forma- 
tion of a fourth brigade, to be conniiandcd by General 
Svvartwout. 

In consequence of arrangements, between Commodore 
Chauncey and General Wilkinson, the fleet had preced- 
ed them, and lay opposite the eastern point of Grand 
Island, so as to guard both the north and south passages, 
from Kingston, and protect the rear of the expedition, 
from any attack by water. 

The army remained at French Creek, until the morn- 
ing of the 5th; the 4th, was spent in niaking dispositions, 
for the progress of the troops, and arranging the order 
of battle, for the flotilla, in case any parties should have 
been stationed on shore, for the purpose of retarding 
them. An order was issued, that the troops shoidd sail, 
in the afternoon of the 4tb, this was countermanded; and 
the after order, directed the embaikation to take place, 
by daylight, on tlie 5th. T!ie *> general ,'* was ordered 
to be beat by 4 o'clock, and the « march" at dayliglit. It 
rainrd during the night, as he understood, and the expe- 
dition did not get under way, until 9 r)r 10 o'clock ; own- 
ing to many boats having advance(i up a narrow creek, 
for greater security and convenience of landing. It con- 
sumed some time to get tliem out into the bay. During 
part of the morning, General Wilkinson and the witness, 
were beating about the bay to arrange the troops, in the 
order of progression and battle; as laid down in the dia- 
grams furnished the officers. He does not know of any 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 1^ 

unnecessary delay at French Creek? or at any point in chap. 
tlie expedition, which could be ascribed to the command- ^^' 
or in chief. He added, that he knows of no delay, but nq delays 
wiiich could be accounted for. ascribable 

About niidriighf, the expedition arrived at Hoag's, comander 
four miles below ^Monisville, and about forty miles from '" clvei', 
French Creek. It iialted at this point, distant six miles could not 
from Og'densburgh, and the troops landed. It had been, ^^ ^^- 
pi'cviously, the intention to have halted at Morrisville, foj.. 
and fires were directed to be built, as signals for the 
boats ; but these not being perceived, by those who took 
the north channel, part proceeded below, and others land- 
ed at Morrisville, which produced some confusion. 
Many of the boats for want of sails, were obliged to use 
oars, the wliole distance. The witness added, that Gene- 
ral Wilkinson, had either issued an order, or intended 
issuing one, for passing Prescott that night; to be exe- 
cuted according to circumstances, but this order was not 
executed. 

On the morning of the 6ih, an order was issued, stat- 
ing, that General Wilkinson wislicd to speak with the 
general officers on board of his vessel, at 12 o'clock; but 
it was not carried into eOTect, as a council of war. 

About 11 o'clock, information reached him, that Colo- 
nel King had arrived; the witness accompanied the lat- 
ter to General Wilkinson: after considerable conversa- 
tion on shore, they went on board of General Wilkinson's 
vessel, where some general officers were assembled, 
(but he thinks, that Brigadier-general Porter was ab- 
sent). The conversation was desultory, and passed in Never 
the presence of some, who were not general officers. Ge- neral vvil- 
neral Wilkinson, in the course of it, said something about 5^105011 
provisions, but no formal question was submitted, to the proposi- 
best of his recollection. The witness added, that he ^\o"' '^o. 
never heard General Wilkinson, make a proposition to nue the 

discimtinue the expedition, for want of previsions ; nor expedi- 
* tion, for 

had he ever heard h.im give an opinion, at any council want of 

which was called. P.'"'''- 

sions, 

VOL. HI. Q 



i2^ MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. He never heard General Wilkinson declare, tltat his 

*^ ■ orders were positive to go to Montreal ; but has heard lam 

^^""^^"^^ say? that he considered the military advice of a superior 

officer, as obligatory upon him, and tantamount to an 

order. 

q, — Did General Wilkinson issue any order, between 
the 5d of October and, the 10th of November, enforcing it 
on the officers, to take proper care of the provisions, 
shipped for the expedition? or in any way making them 
responsible, for the preservation of the provisions, on 
board their respective boats ? 
^q, — I know of no such order. 

q. — Were any provisions left on shore, by officers com- 
manding in boats, wasted, or wantonly destroyed ? 
A. — None to my knowledge. 

Q. — Was General Jtlacomb detached witli the corps 
elite? and wlicn, and what the object of such detach- 
ment ? 

^. — He w?s detached on the morning of the 7th, an<l 
the object of this (as was represented to me, by General 
Wilkinson) was to dislodge a party of troops from Ma- 
tilda; a place on the Canada sliore, near the bank, com- 
manding the passage for the boats, within good musket 
shot. On the morning of the 8th, the witness saw a 
party of one liundrcd, or n^oi'c, armed men on the Cana- 
da shore; who, it was concluded, had evacuated Matilda. 
On passing it, they perceived it had been reduced to 
aslies, by General Maconob, and one staff ofiicer was 
taken. No delay was caused by this detachment of 
Macomb. 

The first information, the witness received of the ene- 
my in the rear, was from a man who called his name 
Spencer, and stated that they had arrived at Prescott. 
The witness thinks, he conducted him to General Wil- 
kinson. This occurred at the White House, on the 
ih"a"^^^ morning of the 8th. There were various reports on the 
proach of subject; but the general information was, that there were 
mV^^' ^^^"^ ^^^*y boats. He further stated, that from report, 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 133 

on the evening of the 9th, there was a small shew of the chap. 
enemy, and that one man was killed. About sun-set, the ^' 
expedition arrived at Williamsburgh, near Clirystler's 
fields — But he does not know, that any dragoons were 
detached that evening, to reconnoitre the rear ; nor that 
any parties were sent out, to ascertain the force of the 
enemy approaching. On tlic morning of tltc 10th, orders 
were issued by General AVilkinson, perhaps about 1 or 2 
o'clock, and a communication sent to the witness, stat- 
ing, that he. General Wilkinson, was too unwell to act, 
and directing him to assume the command. 

On tlie 11th, General Wilkinson again resumed the 
command, on account of a severe indisposition of tiie 
witness, occasioned by his being very wet with rain, in 
reconnotring the enemy, and making necessary disposi- 
tions, on the evening of the 10th> and morning of tlie 

nth. 

That the result of his observations, on the afternoon Estimates 
of the 10th, was, that the enemy which appeared on the ''^e ene- 
plain, amounted to about Jive hundred, and was not sufli- at about *^ 
cient to prevent the advance of the troops. Generals ^^9 ^^"' 

* '■ Opinions 

Boyd, Covington, and Swartwout concurred in this opi- of Gene- 
nion. But as a measure of precaution, the witness " '^/^^oy^' 

•■ ' Coving-- 

directed that the troops, should lay on their arms, which ton, and 
they did, though it rained hard all night. wouf 

The witness further stated, that he does not know, 
that any of the gun-boats, or ordnance boats, were or- 
dered down the river, during the action of the 11th. He 
thinks that four of them, in pursuance of orders, on the 
10th, attended General, then Colonel Bissell, in an expe- 
dition against an island in advance, where the enemy 
were stated to be posted. 

The witness added, that he knows of no positive order, 
from the secretary of war, that the expedition should 
proceed to Montreal; except before explained in his tes- 
timony. 

The court adjourned to February 11th, 1815, at 10 
o'clock, A. M. 



IS* MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. 

IV. Troyj Febniarij Itf/i, ISii. 

The court convened pursuant to adjournment. 
Major-general Lewis was cross-examined, on the part 
of General Wilkinson, as follows : 

Cross-ex- ±st Q. — How long have you been acquainted with Ge- 
tion. ' neral Wilkinson? Did you not serve together in the same 
army, during the revolutionary war? and will you say 
where, and wlien ? 

Jl. — To the best of my recollection, it is this winter 
forty-one years, since I was first acquainted with Gene- 
ral Wilkinson. We served togetlier, in 1775, at Cam- 
bridge, Massachusetts j in 1776 and 1777, with the north- 
ern army. 

2d Q. — When did General Wilkinson take command 
at Sackett's Harbour. 

.y3. — He arrived at the Harbour, on the 20th August, 
1813; on the 23d, he issued *a general order, assuming 
the command of the district, and committing the com- 
mand of the post to General Lewis. 

3rf Q. — What was the state of the water transport, at 
that time, at Sackett's Harbour? And what number of 
men, could it bear with their arms, acroiiti'ements, am- 
munition, clothing, baggage, camp equipage, and ten 
days provision ? 

»5.— It was very inconsiderable ,• not more than ten, or 
a dozen batteaux in the wliole. 

if/i Q. — As second in command, during the operations 
of the army, in the autumn of 1813, on the northern 
frontier, were you not, in the entire confidence of Gene- 
ral W ilkinson ? 

A. — I know of no circumstance, that led mc to doubt, 
my iiaving his entire confidence. 

5th Q. — Did not General Wilkinson, on his arrival at 
Sackett's Harbour, expose to a council of war, the obje( ts 
of the campaign, and submit to their decision, the alter- 
native of attacking Kingston, or making a descent upon 
Montreal, and what was the result ? 



©ENERAL WILKINSON. 125 

^. — General AVilkinson, on bis arrival, submitted to CHAP, 
the council, the objects as detailed in their minutes, dated ^^^.^^.i,,^. 
26th August, and produced in court.* General 

6th Q. — Did not General Wilkinson, on entering on Wilkinson 

the command, at Sackett's Harbour, take immediate the ob-* 

measures, to prepare tlie troops, for the meditated expe- jects of 

the cani- 
dition? And did he not issue orders to that end? Andpaign, toa 

are not those the orders now exposed to you ? council of 

war, 
Ji. — H'' didj and the orders now exhibited, dated the 

23d, 24th, 26th, and 27th August, are those he issued.f 

7th Q. — Had you received any orders from General 
Wilkinson, for embarking the troops, from Sackett's 
Harbour for Grenadier Island, previous to his arrival 
there, on the 4th of October. 

Jl. — I had not^ preparations were commenced previous 
to my arrival. 

Sth Q. — Under whose order, and by what authority, 
were the troops ordered to sail, from Sackett^s Harbour 
to Grenadier Island, previous to the arrival, of General 
W^ilkinson? 

*3. — TJiey were ordered by me, in consequence of the 
information I received, that this was the wish of General 
Wilkinson, and met the approbation of the secretary of 
war. 

9th Q — Could the movement of the division, from 
Sackett's Harbour to Grenadier Island, before that ex- 
pected from Fort George had arrived, have accelerated 
the expedition down the St. Lawrence ? 

J.- — I tliink not. 

iOth Q. — Were not the regiments and corps much di- 
vided, between Sackett*s Harbour and Fort George? And 
were not orders issued for their re-union, when the corps 
should arrive from Fort George, in the neighbourhood of 
Sackett's Harbour ? And was not the army brigaded, 
and organised for action, before it sailed from Grenadier 
Island ? 

'^' — To the first part, I answer in the affirmative ; to 

• See Appendix, No. I. f See Appendix, No. n. 



12G 



MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP. 
IV. 



State of 

General 

"WJlbin. 

son's 

health. 



General 
Wilkin- 
son's ex- 
ertions, to 
hasten the 
progress 
of the ex- 
pedition. 



the latter, I answer, that they were so far brigaded, as to 
designate, the pai'ticular corps to form, each brigade j the 
order for the last, was issued the 9th of October.* 

1 Ith Q. — Did you ever receive, or issue any orders, 
at Grenadier Island, or hold any correspondence with 
General Wilkinson ? If so, will you produce the orders 
and letters i 

Ji. — i both received and issued orders,f but am not iu 
possession of the latter. 

IZth Q. — During the whole period, from the 4th of 
October, till your arrival at French Creek, was not 
General Wilkinson in ill health, and confined to his bed 
or quarters, generally ? 

v^. — He generally w as, during that period, and long 
afterwards. 

13th Q. — Did not General Wilkinson manifest the ut- 
most anxiety, to hasten t!ie progress of tSie expedition ? 
And do you not believe, he made every exertion, and 
employed every means, in his power to that end, which 
disease and his enfeebled condition would admit? 

^. — He certainly did, as far as I was capable of judg- 
ing j and it was matter of astonishment to me, that he 
could do as much as he did. I never saw him idle a mo- 
ment, when there was any thing to be done; when he 
could not xvrite, oxving to his ill health, I saw him dictate 
to his secretartj; and I recollect, that, in one instance, he 
dictated to two secretaries, at the same time, upon dijfferent 
subjects. 

±^th Q. — Will you be pleased to state, what were tlie 
dispositions, made by General Wilkinson, to save the 
troops from unnecessary peril, in passing Prescott ? 

J. — The troops were ordered down by land, except a 
sufficient number to man the boats; the ammunition was 
principally taken out ; 1 commanded the army on land, 
and General Wilkinson took charge of the flotilla. 

15th Q. — Bid you see General Wilkinson in the after^ 
noon of the 6th of November I Had you any conversation 



See Appendix, No. Ill, 



t See Appendix, No. IV. 



GENERAL ORDER OF ENCAMPMENT. 



(See Vol. Ill, page 126.) 



im 



Brig, Gen. Covington 

THIRD ^v BUrOABB 



Brig. Gen. Boyd 

FIRST ^V. BBIGACE 



uu 






277 562 468 

16. Col. Pearse 25. Lt. Col. Cutting 9. L.Col. Aspinwall 



V. 



■=.0 
•X u 



369 391 553 

12. Cel. Preston 13. Major Huyck S.Col. Bisteil 



S(i: 



upq 



Major Gen. Morgan Lewis 



Q^uar. Mast. Gen. Swartwout 

FOUttTH ^>^ BtllOilDK 



267 632 

U.L.Col. Dix 21. Col. Ripley 



449 

11. L.Col. Upham 




Brig. Gen, Brown 

SBCOMD >>^ BRIGIBE 






■ •= a 



457 469 368 

15. Col. Brearley 22. Col. Brady 23. Col. Miller 



^ 



Colonel Macomb 



Artillery 
Rifle Corps 
Dragoons 



Reserve 



eg 



Park 



The second Division wat inteaded for 
Major Geo. Hampton, but he did not join. — 
The order of battle was the same, with ex- 
ception to the Cavalry aud Riflemen, who 
would have been disposed of as the nature of 
the ground, and exigencies might warrant and 
require. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 1S7 

w itli liim, respecting his manner of passing PreScott? and cHAP 
did he appear to you to be intoxicated I v^-*^^ 

J. — I saw him, I should suppose, about 4 o'clock in 
the afternoon, and advised him, on account of his indis- 
position, to go with the troops by land. He told me, no; 
that he considered the charge of the flotilla, to be more 
important, and more exposed to hazard, and he would 
not subject his troops to any hazard, which he would not 
encounter himself. Doctor Bull and I, then endeavour- 
ed to dissuade him from going in his gig ; but he replied, 
that in case of accident, it would be necessary for him to 
communicate, with every part of the flotilla, which could 
be effected only in a small boat. Doctor Bull then re- 
commended, that in consequence of his indisposition, it 
would be necessary for him, to stimulate against the 
^alight air. He liad tlicn no appearance of intoxication, 
I)ut seemed to be in high spirits, which I considered as 
assumed, to inspire confidence. 

±6l/b Q. — What Vv'as the structure of the armed boats, 
or gun boats, ordered at Sackett's Harbour in August? 

.// They v/cre, generally, small slip-keeled boats, 

slightly built; such as are common on the lake: there 
wore one or two, of a larger size. 

I'th Q. — Would Jiot a three, or four pound shot, have 
■ link one of them? 

.'i A shot of that weight, could Lave gone through 

one of them. 

18f/t O. — Were not plans of offence, and defence, di- ^'^^'^ f^'- 

^ * gested to 

gested and issued, to meet any contingency which niigiit meet 
occur, with the enemy, by land and by water ? ^y^P' '^^''" 

J. — I think so : I cannot figure to myself, any ordi- 
nary case, which was not provided for. 

19t/i Q. — Was not the arrival of the enemy, at Pres- 
cott, on the 8th of November, unexpected ? 

J. — It was, undoubtedly, unexpected to me. 

20^/t Q. — Were not the boats, on our arrival near Og- 
densburgh, the night of tlie 5th, much divided, and the 
corps separated? And was not an order issued, next 



1^8 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, morning, for them to resume their proper stations, pre- 
^^' paratory to a forward movement ? 

J. — They were; and such orders were issued. 
Qlst Q — Will you state to the court, whether Generals 
Brown and Swartwout, spoke to you, at French Creek, 
about the change of the meditated movement, of the army 
against Montreal, to 'the attack of Kingston? And if so, 
what conversation took place on the occasion ? 
Conversa- J. — I had a conversation with either one, or both, of 
tween ' those gentlemen on that subject. They requested, that I 
General would communicate to General Wilkinson their opinion. 
Generals that it would be best to cross from French Creek to Gan- 
Brownand nanoqui, for the purpose of making a direct attack on 
xvout. Kingston. I observed to them, it would be useless to 
communicate it to General Wilkinson, because I knew, 
that he considered the military advice of a superior offi- 
cer, as tantamount to an order, and tiiat I agreed with 
him in opinion. I further observed to them, that I was 
an improper character to make the proposition, as they 
well knew, that 1 had always been opposed, to a direct 
attack on Kingston ; adding, that even if successful, I 
did not think the game would pay the candle. In speak- 
ing of General Wilkinson's opinion, relative to the mili- 
tary advice of a superior officer, as tantamount to an or- 
der, I referred to the opinion of the secretary of war, who 
I knew was, prior to the expedition sailing, in favour of 
an attack upon Montreal; and that this opinion had been 
given, to General Wilkinson. 

22(i Q. — Did you introduce Colonel King, to General 
Wilkinson, on the 6th of November ? And if so, will you 
inform the court, of the particulars which occurred on 
tliat occasion ? 

J, — I do Sir. I understood Colonel King had arriv- 
ed, went to visit him on board of General Wilkinson's 
vessesl, told him General Wilkinson had gone down the 
river, to reconnoitre Prescott, and took him in my gig, to 
introduce him to the general. As we were going down, 
he asked mc, whether the old gentlemen would bo found 



GENERAL WILKINSON. Igg 

in a .e;ood humour; for says he, if he bounces, Is/inU;* I chap. 
told him, lie mii^lit perhaps find the general a little petu- '^ ' 
laut, from indisposition, but that lie must give way to 
liim. He said, certainly he should. We met the gene- 
ral by tiie way, returning. Cidonel Kiug asked him, if 
he had any communications to General Hampton ; as he 
was anxious to return. General Wilkinson, then jiro- 
posed that we should land, for the convenience of conver- 
sation, which we did. We three retired to a little dis- 
tance fi'om the boat, and sat down on a log. Genei'al 
Wilkinson then asked him, if the report we had was 
true, that General Hampton's army had been defeated, 
hy a paity of about three hundred men. He said, he 
could not speak with precision, of the number opposed 
to us ; but thtat we certainly had to contend with a very 
inferior force, and that our best troops behaved in the 
most rascally manner. General Wilkinson, then ex- 
claimed, " damn such an army ! a man might as well be 
in hell as command it." He then observed, what is to be General 

expected from men, wiio as soon as they are eidisted, are ^^''l*^'"- 
^ _ *^ son s ex- 

marched to the field, without having acquired the first clam niion, 

rudiments of their profession. However, said he, my '^^'P^''^'"'^"' 
army will beliave better, at least I can answer for the 
troops, wiiich came from Fort George. I received this, 
as an implied reflection upon tiie troops, from the Har- 
bour; and therefore ubserveil, the trooi>s from the Har- 
bour will not he behind h.and. He then replied, with re- 
spect to those, he was not so well acquainted; but for 
these, Brown and you must answer. Tins was the sub- 
stance of what passed, and I believe, pretty nearly the 
words. 

We afterwards, went to General Wilkisison's schoo- 
ner, but titis, or similar conversation, did not pass on 
board, in my hearing. We ren)ained until General Wil« 
kinsun had written his letter, wlicn I took Colonel King 

* A strongr indication of the insubordinate Icmpef, and irascible 
spirit, in which Colonel Kinj^, approached tlie comniuiuler in chief. 
Tinder whom he hr.d a short time before, acted as a Lieutenant of in- 
fanti'v. 

VOT.. HI. R 



130 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, to dine with me. After dinner. Colonel King again, 
^^ went to General Wilkinson's schooner, before I did. 
^'^"^''^^^ 22rf Q. — You have said, that after reconnoitring the 
enemy, on tlie 10th of November, with Generals Boyd, 
Covington and Swartwout, that it was agreed on all 
hands, the force was such, as not to prevent the march 
of the troops. Will you say, at wliat time of the day 
this took place; and could the troops have marched fur- 
ther that day, with convenience; or without parting with 
the flotilla, beyond all co-operation, in case of exigency? 
J. — It must have been pretty late in the afternoon, as 
we had scarcely time to make a disposition of the troops, 
for the night, before it was dark. 

QTth Q. — At what time, on the 11th of November, did 
General Wilkinson advise you, to be ready to sail, in 
twenty minutes notice? 

w3. — It is impossible for me to be precise, as to the 
events of that day, as I was sick in my bed. 

QSth Q. — Independent of the movements of the enemy, 

in our rear, were there not other causes to prevent the 

flotilla, from entering tlie Long Saut, on the morning of 

the 11th; and if so, will you state them? 

Obstacles ^, — Most assuredly. The information we had, was 

move- that the enemy were on an island, near the pitch of the Smit, 

ment of ^j^j ^\^^^ another party occupied a block house on the 

the army, » v i 

on the bank of the river. General Brown was detached to dis- 
^ ^^' lodge the one, and Colonel Bisscll the other. About 8 
o'clock, on the morning of the 11th, I first learnt from 
Doctor Bull, that the troops had not marched early in 
the morning, agreeably to my order. I sent to General 
Wilkinson, to enquire the reason, and he returned for 
answer, that no information had been received from Ge- 
neral Brown, and that Colonel Bissell's pilot had desert- 
ed, and delayed his movements, until the morning. It 
was conjectured, that General Brown had been engaged, 
with the enemy, as I distinctly heard the firing on the 
10th. 

29th Q.~~U tlie flotilla had sailed the morning of tlie 
11th, would not General Boyd, and his detachment have 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 131 

been cut up by the enemy, on our rear, supposing the chap^ 
number to have been 2,500? *^ 

A. — It is impossible to say, what would have been the 
consequences. I should have thought it very imprudent to 
have left liim. 

oQth Q. — Have you had any conversation with Gene= 
ral John Armstrong, late secretary of war, respecting 
the letter, of the 6th of July, addressed to you by Gene- 
ral Wilkinson? If so, say what it was, and when, and 
where, it toolc place ? 

The judge advocate objected to the above question as Judge 
inadmissible. The letter itself having been produced, ob^^^t^o^^ 
contains all the evidence, which the nature of the case 
can admit. It must stand or fall, by its own merit5 there 
can be no other test. If the sentiments it advances, com- 
port with the opinions of celebrated commanders, and are 
correct in themselves. General Wilkinson's justification 
is complete. If the reverse, no collateral circum- 
stances, no attempt to implicate third persons, by shew- 
ing the mode in which the letter became public, can in 
the slightest degree, absolve tlie original error. 

The court overruled the objection, and the question 
was answered as follows: 

A.^—\ had a conversation with General Armstrong, one Witness 
evening in January, 1814. He asked me, if I recollected comersai^ 
the contents of the Millcdgeville letter, written to me, by tion. be- 
General Wilkinson? I replied, I did not accurately. He l^o-etaV^ 
then asked me, if it did not contain a sentiment advising of war and 
me, not to expose my person m battle ', and representing respecting 
that we who were choice spirits, ought not to be exposed to ''^^ letter, 

1 1 «. c -,,.,. . of the 6th 

the same hazards, as younger omcers, &c.? I told him, I July,l8l3.- 
thought not; there was no such impression on my memo- 
ry. He replied, you are mistaken ; it did. I then asked 
him, how he came to know, the contents of that letter ? 
He replied, that it was an unsealed letter, sent under 
cover to him, and that both he, and Mr. Parker, had 
read it. 



13S MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. 51st Q Will you say, whether yon have liad any con- 



IV. 



versation with D. Parker esq., late first rierk in the war 
oilice, and no7v brigadier-general, and adjutant and in- 
spector-general in the armtj of the United States, re- 
specting the same letter? And if so, state what it was? 

J. — Yes, I think at Washington, in October, or No- 
vember last. Mr. Parker asked mc, whether I recollect- 
ed the contents of that letter? And made similar obser- 
vations to those made by the secretary, as to its contents. 
I asked him, wiiethei' he had not taken a copy o( it? for 
I understood General Ai'Uistrong to say, that he had di- 
rected him to take a copy of it. He told me, no, that he 
had not taken a copy. I then informed him, that when 
the letter was officially called for, it should be produced.* 

Questions hj the Conrt. 

^. — Do you know what orders were given General 
Boyd, on the 10th and llth of November? Was he au- 
thoiised to act at his discretion or not? 

»/?. — I know of no order, except the one I gave him on 
the lOtb, relative to the disposition of the troops to meet 
tlie eneni}', 

Q, — What force had General Boyd, under his com- 
mand, on the nth ? And at what time, did Colonel Up- 
ham leave the boats, to reinforce him? 

A. — I can only speak from information. It must have 
been pretty late in the day, when Colonel Upham was 
detached. 



* The extreme depravity, exposed in this transaction, is below the 
dig-nily of abhorrent e, and a subject of pity. A man in the elevated 
station of secretary of war, receives a familiar letter of friendship, 
ppen, and subject to his discretion. He first exposes it to his clerk, 
and as he has said, to President Madison, also, tiicn seals, and forv 
wards it, and al'tcrwards, to gratify a vindictive spirit, makes it ^ 
ground of crimination against the author, with whom he had been m, 
timutely acquainted) thirty-seveii years, and for whom he professed a 
warm friendship. And this, to the shame of his native country, and 
^h^ reproach of his species, is General John Arn^strong-. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 133 

The court adjourned to Monday, the 13th of Febru- chap. 
ary, 1815, at 10 o'clock, A. M. ^^• 

Troy, February ISth, 1815. 
The court convened pursuant to adjournment. 
The cross-examination of Major-general Lewis, was 
continued as follows ; 

32fZ Q. — Did General Wilkinson, on the 4th of Octo- 
ber, in company with the secretary of war. Generals 
Lewis and Brown, and in the presence of these officers, 
remonstrate, freely and warmly, as^ainst making an at- 
tack on Kingston ; urging the propriety of passing that 
post, and going directly to Montreal ? 

A. — I do not know that he did. I always made it a 
rule, wllen the secretary and General Wilkinson, were 
conversing about the objects of the campaign, to with- 
draw, unless particularly requested to remain. 

33d Q. — Did the secretary of war, at the same time, 
and in the presence of the same officers, diffisr from Gene- 
ral Wilkinson in opinion? Did he propose the considera- 
tion of his objections, and that a mt-eting, for this pur- 
pose, should take place the day following? 
V Ji. — Not to my knowledge. 

V34^/i ^. — Did such a meeting take place ? 

jsr""— Not to my knowledge. 1 recollect, that on the 
morning of the 5th, 1 met General Wilkinson, with a 
paper in his hand ; he informed me, he was going to pre- 
sent to the secretary of war, some th(»ughts about the ob- 
jects of the campaign. I told him, 1 presumed the secre- 
tary had been employed upon the same suhject, as he had 
been very busy writing that morning. The gem ral im- 
pression on my mind, at that time, was, that the secre- 
tary of war, was in favour of attacking Kingston, and 
that General Wilkinson was for going to Montreal ? How 
this impression originated, I am unable to say; but I re- 
collect, that General Armstrong, one morning, exclaimed 
** I miglit have compelled Wilkinson to attack Kingston, 
if I had only ordered Hampton to Ogdensburgh," 



13* MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. 35th Q. — Had you any conversation with General Wil- 
*^" kinson, on his arrival at Sackett's Harbour, respecting 
tlie necessity of harmony and confidence, in the higher 
departments of the army, and particularly respecting 
Brigadier-general Swartwout? 
General «?. — On Ijis first arrival, General Wilkinson observed 
Wilkinson ^^ ^^^^ ^^^^^ 1^^ understood, Brigadier-general Swartwout, 
the neces- quarter-master-general, was acting in the 9th military 
sityof^ tjistrict; that perhaps he might entertain some unplea- 
in the dif- saiit feelings towards him, for having arrested his bro- 
de'part- th^r,* that he ought not, as he undoubtedly had been the 
meiits. means of saving the young man. He then represented 
the necessity, of harmony and confidence, in the diiferent 
departments; and, with his approbation, I called upon 
General Swartwout, and intimated to him the wish of the 
General on this point : he replied, that it was, undoubt- 
edly, very liberal in General Wilkinson, and expressed 
his cordial assent to it. 

S6th ^. — Had you any conversation with Colonel King, 
respecting his testimony, as delivered on the first day of 
his examination, and at what time ? If so, be pleased to 
relate it ? 

d. — At the time mentioned, I had a conversation with 
Colonel King; recalled to his recollection, the occur- 
rences of tlie 6th of November, and reminded him, that 
the conversations relative to General Wilkinson's decla- 
rations of the state of the army, passed on shore, while 
we were seated on the log. He admitted that I was cor- 
rect; but observed, that a conversation on the same sub- 
ject, had occurred on board of General Wilkinson's 
schooner. I do not mean to state by this, that Colonel 
King entertained an idea, that he had misrepresented, 
what had passed on board the vessel, but, that the coi»p 
versation on shore, liad escaped his memory. 

37th ^. — The flotilla, having once entered the Long 
Saut, could it have landed, before passing it ? or, on the 

* Samwel Swartwout, the eniissaiy sent by Colonel Burr, to Gene- 
ral Wilkinson, at Natchitoches. 



GENERAL WILKINSON, 135 

passage, could the troops have defended themselyes from chap. 
the boats ? How long is this rapid ? v^-v->»^ 

J.— I understand, the rapid is eight or nine miles long; 
but I annot decidedly say, whether boats could, or could 
not land. In some places, it would be impossible for 
boats to turn out of the channel, or for troops to defend 
themselves in them. 

5Sth Q. — When General Wilkinson reached Sackett's 
Harbour, was not the secretary of war, just about to de- 
part for Gravelly Point, in the neighbourhood of Grena- 
dier Island, and had not the carriage, actually departed ? 

^. — He was ; and I sent to order back his baggage Secretary 

of war, 
wagon. about to 

59th Q. — Did you know at Sackett's Harbour, before ciepart 
the flotilla sailed, that General Wilkinson was decidedly s^tckett's 
in favour of attacking Kingston, and the secretary of ^^arbour, 
war. General Armstrong, as decidedly opposed to it; and General 
do vou recollect at, or about what time. General Wilkin- Wiikmson 

*' arnves. 

son manifested this opinion ? 

ji. — After the continuance of the storm, for two or Secretary 

three days, the secretary of war was, undoubtedly, in fa- favoupo'f 

vour of going to Montreal, and Giptneral Wilkinson, some .'^"<>i"g ^o 

where about that time, for an attack on Kingston. and Gene'- 

AOth Q.— While at Sackett's Harbour, did you not un- 1'^* ^^'V 
• r .J J.I • J j^. n 1 i ^ kinson for 

drrstand, it was the intention ot the secretary of war, an fu tack 

to accompany the expedition down the St. Lawrence ? ^^ Kings- 

^. — I certainly did. 

4\st Q. — What reason have you, for believing that 
there was not above a thousand men, engaged in the 
affair of the 11th ? 

J. — I had an impression, that there were about one 
thousand, exclusive of the artillery and cavaliy, or re- 
serve, from a conversation wliich occurred at French 
Mills, between Generals Ripley, Swartwout and myself, 
and two or three others. 



136 MEMOIRS BY 



CHAPTER V. 

Testimony of Brigadier-general Eleazer W. Ripley.— 
His narrative of the descent of the St. Lawrence.— 
Battle of Chrystler^s field. — Fall of General Covington. 
— Testimony of Colonel John B. Walbach, adjutant ge- 
neral. — Proves General Wilkinson'' s detestation of drun- 
kenness. — The necessity of detaching General Macomh. — 
General Brown's advance, necessary to the protection of 
the flotilla. — Morning General Order of the 10th JS'*ovem- 
her. — Estimates enemy's force, between 11, and 120Q 
men. — Flotilla detained, for want of intelligence from 
General Brown. — State of General Wilkinson^ s health.*-^ 
Sad condition of the army. — Testimony of Colonel Isaac 
Clark. — His description of the affair of La Cole mill.—' 
Regular retreat of the army, carrijing off dead and 
wounded. — Testimony of Colonel Decius Wadsworth, 
commissary general of ordnance. — His narrative of the 
descent of the St. Lawrence, proves General Wilkinson" s 
wish to attack Kingston. — Enemifs gun boats superior to 
ours in armament. — His opinion, as to the effect of an at- 
tack on our rear, on entering the Saut — Testimony of 
Major-general Alexander Macomb. — His narrative of 
the descent of the St. Lawrence. — Description of the affair 
of La Cole mill.-^Prccautions to prevent the escape of the 
enemy. — Orderly retreat, and its effects on the army. — ■ 
General Wilkinson in the hottest fire. — Conduct of the ene- 
iiiVf. — Council of war. — Mistakes of the officer leading 
the advance, — His opinion of General Wilkinson. — His 
detcstalion of drunkenness and immorality. — His conduct 
on the field. 

f^HAP. ELEAZER W. RIPLEY, brigadier-general in the 

V. United States army, being sworn and examined, as a 
''''"''^'"^^ witness, for the prosecution, deposed : 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 137 

That in September and October, 1813, he was colonel ciiAP. 
of the 21st regiment of infantry, stationed at Sackett's ^" 
Harbour, and left that place on the 16th of October, to jv stimo- 
accompany the expedition, down the St. Lawrence. Pre- "y of Bri- 
vious to this, he thinks, there had been no embarkation general 

of his reffimenl; but a battalion of the 11th reariment of E- W. 

Eipley. 
infantry, attached to his command, under Lieutenant- 
colonel Upham, had embarked a few days before, wlie- 
ther for the purpose, of proceeding on the expedition, or 
simply to change position, he cannot tell. The^ landed 
about a mile fr(mi their fornjcr positi m, and encamped. 
The month of October was very stormy, and had few 
pleasant days; there were, perhaps, two or three, near 
the beginning of the month. He left the Harbour towards Leaves the 
night, on the 16th, with a fair breeze, but owing to a ^^'^^j^g"'^ 
sudden squall, many of his boats were dispersed, and I6th.— 
driven ashore, and three or four da} s elapsed, before his boats 
they reached Grenadier Island. The precise day of their tlispeised, 
departure, from Grenadier Island, he does not recollect ; asiiore; 
but tliey arrived at French Creek, about the 2d or 3d of 
November. Whether there was any unnecessary delay, 
at Sackett's Harbour, he could not answer, without know- 
ing the state, of the several staff departments of the army. 
But there was no delay at Grenadier Island, for which a 
commanding general could be accountable, owing to the 
variable, and tempestuous state of the weather. 

He further testified, that the orders at French Creek, 
were, that the troops should embark about 3 or 4 o'clock, 
in the morning ; as to the precise time, he is not certain. 
His regiment was in the rear brigade, and they were a 
long time in their boats, waiting for those in advance, to 
move. It was nearly 10, or 11 o'clock, he sliould judge. Troops 
before the expedition began to descend the river. Be- muchfix)ni 
tween 11 and 12 o'clock, at night, after the troops un-Ier cold, on 
his command, arrived at the jilace of halting, below Mor- sagedo^vn 
risvillc; they had suffered severely from the cold. Their t^-e river. 
orders then were, to disembark, build fires, and be ready to disem- 
to embark again, in two or three hours ; the last was bark, and 
subsequently countermanded, and he should have deemed fires. 
VOL. IM. S 



138 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, it impracticable, after landing the troops that nightj, 

^- making the necessary arrangements, and again embark- 

j . ing, to have passed Prescott, before 10 or 11 o'clock, the 

cable, af- next day ; when they would have been exposed, to the 

inr vo morning fire of the enemy. 

have pass- Had the troops, however, started from French Creek, 
cott be- ^* rcvcillee, pursuant to orders, lie should have consider- 
fore 10 or cd it practicable, to have landed them by evening, made 
next day. the necessary dispositions, and passed Prescott the same 
night, in the way they aftei wards did. After passing 
Prescott, a part of the army halted in the morning, six 
or seven miles below Ogdensburgh, and continued there 
about a day ; General Macomb was detached from thence 
to carry a battery, on the opposite shore, and the wit- 
ness, with his regiment, returned to Ogdensburgh, to se- 
cure an ammunition boat. Having succeeded in this, and 
Keceives while at the point below Ogdensburgh, he received a note 
intelh- fi^om Doctor Pendergast, directed to General Wilkinson, 

gence, oi ™ 

the ene- or the Officer commanding; he opened, and found it con- 
rny's flo- taincd intelligence, that sixty boats of tlie enemy, were 

tilia being . ^ "^ '' 

in sight of' in sight of Ogdensburgh. The witness immediately took 
bm^ll'^ a boat, proceeded down the river, and, having came up 
which he with Generi.l Wilkinson's schooner, at the foot of the 
GeluTntl ° rapids, handed the note to liim, on the deck of his 
Wilkin- vessi;!. 

To a question, whether parties of observation were sta- 
tioned at different points, on the American shore, to as- 
certain the force, and watch the movements of the ene- 
my ? he answered, that he knew nothing, of the inspector 
general's department ; he only knows, that general dis- 
positions were made, for the security of their camp; and 
these he supposes, were conformable to established usage. 
On being asked, whether dragoons were despatched, on the 
Canada side, to reconnoitre in the rear, for the like pur- 
pose? he answered, that from the point, where they cross- 
ed over from the American side, he understood, dragoons 
marched down by land, on the Canada shore; that they 
were in motion in the afternoon, of the 10th, but how far 
they scoured in our rear, he could not say. 



ORDER OF MOVEMENT OF THE FLOTILLA. 

I Vol. in. page 1S8. 

Explanatory Remarks. 

(a) Eight Gunboats in front 

o 

(b) Interval between the Boat*. 



0") 

I 

f 

J 



(c) Light Artillery and Elite Corpi. 



0-^ 
i 






OjO 
I 
J 



e 





?• (d) First Brigade. 



"1 
I . , 
r* Ce) Third Brigade. 

J 








0^ 

f 

G 3 

> 

f 

3 

> 

>■ 

J 



(f ) Ordnance and Park. 

(g) Hospital Department. 

(h) Commissary and Contractors. 



e 





1 

SSS2 i>(i) Secend Brigade. 
i 
J 








"1 

j^ (k) Fourth Brigade. 








• (1 ) Four Ganboats in the rear, carrying two tweWe poanders 
and two four pounders. 



GEIVERAL WILKINSON. 139 

The witness further testified, that the orders which he cfiap. 
received on the 11th, and which he understood, came from 
General Wilkinson, were, to move with his regiment, 
and outflank tlie enemy's left. This order he executed. 

He further stated, that, at the battle of Chrystler's Desciip- 
field, his impression was, that there was an error some- f,'at"ig ^f 
where. His regiment formed the advance, and he had no Chryst- 
idea of encountering any enemy, but the militia, and a 
few regulars, who had been hovering about them, the day 
previous. The first intimation he had to tlie contrary, 
was on encountering, within half musket shot, a body of 
regular troops, who rose from a ravine, where they had 
been concealed. In the early part of the action, there 
appeared to be a perfect concert, between General Co- 
vington's brigade and his regiment, but no conf ert Avith 
the first brigade. At the close of tlie engagement, tl»e 
witness received from General Swartwout, an order to 
retire, and form his regiment on the ground, where the 
battle commenced. While in this position, he received a 
secoiud order, to repair to the boats ; and his impression 
is, that Colonel Walbach rode up, and gave tiie order. 
Their retreat was not molested by tl»e enemy, whose 
numbers, on that day, according to his calculation, could 
not have exceeded 1800 men. The witness added, that 
we ought to have beaten the enemy, as it is his impres- 
sion, that our force brought into action, and including 
the reserve under Colonel Upham, numerically speaking, 
was, no doubt, superior to theirs, though not to a great 
amount. In the above computation. General Brown's 
detachment w-as not included. The battle, he considered, 
was a drawn one, and he attributed it, in part, to the fall Fall of 
of General Covington, at a moment, when he was gal- covhi?-^ 
lantly leading his column, to carry the enemy's artillery, ton. 
By his full, a partial confusion was produced in his bri- 
gade. Another cause of the failure, was, the first bri- 
gade, not following Covington's, and the artillery, not 
being brought into action, until late. 

The witness also testified, that, in accompanying the 
flotilla, down the Saut, he saw^ one point of land, where. 



140 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, it was remarked, that some militia and others had been 
^ posted; and the boats, to keep the channel, must move 
very near the shore. In the cove, above the bhiflT, a few 
boats might have landed, hut not the whole flotilla. He 
added, that in this passage, it is extremely dangerous, to 
leave the channel, on acc«»unl of numerous eddies, which 
are destructive to boats. 
Provisions Ho further d<'posed, that some provisions had been left 
anaiery'^ on shore, by the artillery, whose boats had been wreck- 
when ed, between Sackett's Harbour and Grenadier Island; but 
sent^for' these, the quarter-master-general informed him, he had 
by the sent for. On his arrival at French Mills, he also disco- 
ma^^eT-' vered, r)ne company of his regiment, selling pork, and 
general, on investigation, found they had taken four or five bar- 
Four or ppIj; ft'om the transports : the men, however, were oblisred 

five bar- „ . . , . _. , 

rels of to account li'r it m their ratnms. During the expedi- 

provisions ^jq,^^ q\i ^\^p boats of his regiment, had on board provi- 

men of sions ; but he does not rec'-llect, that any paiticular 

witness's cliarge, was givm him respectina; them ; a»:d if there hadr 

regiment, ... 

accounted he s!)ould havc disiiaimcd it, and turned Ihem over to his 

for, m quai'ier-master. 

their ra- * 

tions. The Viiln ss closed, by stating, that as part of his re- 

giment, was out of provisiouK, the third day afte»' leav- 
ing Sackett's Harbour, he presumes, they must have had 
only two days rations on hand, win n they sailed. 

Cposs-exa- The direct examination, of Brigadier-general Ripley, 

mination. being closed, he was cross-examined by Major-general 
Wilkin.son, as follows : 

1st ({ — Can you say, what was General Wilkinson's 
attention to the police, discipline, and preparation of tlie 
the troops, for action, immediately, after his arrival at 
Sackett's Harbour? 

General Jj. — He was very attentive; gave the troops much ac- 

veryauen" t'^'itj; hut they had been very active before his arrival. 

live, and Great attenth)n had been paid, to the discipline of the 

troops on droops, the whole season, and the army contained a great 

the alert, number of new recruits. 

2d Q. — Can you say, what was the quantity of trans- 
portation at that place, on General Wilkinson's arrival ? 



GENERAL WILKINSON. IM 

A. — About the 27th of August, there was transporta- chap. 
tion for about eleven hundred men ', but I cannot say to "^ • 
whom it belonged. 

3rf q. — \Yere the dragoons mounted ; or the men de- 
cently clothed ? 

A. — The dragoons were not mounted, nor the men 
dressed in the style they ought to be. It was impossible 
to procure clothing for them. 

Mh Q. — In what health was General Wilkinson, when 
he returned from Fort George ? 

A, — I considered his health extremely poor. I saw state of 

him, afterwards, during the descent of the St. Lawrence, Sf."fP^ 
' " Wilkin- 

and at French Mills, and thought him a very sick man. son's 
5f/i Q. — Who was the officer, that commanded the bat- ^^**'^^- 

talion, which embarked at Sackett's Harbour, before the 

general embarkation ? 
^.—Colonel Upham. 
&ih Q. — Have you known of any neglect, in General Knows of 

Wilkinson, of the public property of any kind; or a dis- "f.u^^^^u* 

regard of the honour of the troops, he commanded j or lie proper- 

the interest of the nation confided to him ? ty, or dis- 

regard to 
A. — I know of none, which can attach to him, per- the ho- 

sonally. """f °^ 

•' the troops, 

llh Q. — Did you know, or hear, of the general offi- that can 
cers, reconnoitring the enemy, on the 10th of Novem- General^ 
her ? Wilkin- 

A. — I recollect. General Lewis, on that day, borrowed 
my spy glass, and viewed tlie enemy, from different 
points. But I saw no general officer, advance in front 
of the troops, with a guard of dragoons, and reconnoitre. 
It was almost impossible, to reconnoitre the enemy, as 
they were posted in the woods. 

8i/i Q. — Do you know of any motive, for Gen. Brown's 
being detached to the front of the army, descending th& 
St. Lawrence, on tlie 10th of November ? 

A. — None, except from hearsay. I understood, it was 
to carry a work of the enemy, which wa3 deemed neces- 
saiy, before descending the Saut. 



14g MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. 9th Q,' — Did you not hear the firing, of General BroVi ij^ 
^' on the 10th of November, and at what hour ? 

^. — I am not certain. 

10th Q — At what hour, did the affair of Chrjstler's 
field commence ? And had there not been an alarm in the 
morning, of the approach of the enemy in force ? 

Jl. — 1 cannot tell the precise hour j perhaps, 11 or 12 
o'clock, there was an alarm from tlie gun-boats. There 
was one, also, on shore of some description, or other, 
which caused a movement of the troops. 

IXth Q. — Were the troops formed in battalia, previous 
to the attack of the enemy, at Chrystler's field ? Was the 
artillery stationed, and tlie cavalry posted, to sustain the 
action, or break down the enemy, if any opening should 
be made for a charge ? 
Descrip- Ji. — Thcrc Were no lines formed ; the troops were not 
ft«ack at^ "^ order of battle, but in columns to march do^n the 
Chryst- z'ivcr. The artillery was not stationed, nor the cavalry 
posted, with a view to meet the enemy. 

12i/t Q. — Was the attack a general one, by the simul- 
taneous movements of the several corps, and brigades I 
or was it made in pieces, by successive detachments, 
which followed each other ? 

A. — There was no simultaneous movement, of corps 
and brigades, in order of battle; but one of the whole 
column towards the enemy; they marched on at various 
points. 

13f/i Q. — At what time, did Colonel Upham ^et into 
action, vs^th his reserve ? 

Ji. — It was after the action had nearly closed, he 
marched up, and gave the enemy a sliarp fire. 

lAih ^. — Did you see, any wanton waste, or destruc- 
tion of provisions, by the troops, descending the St. Law- 
rence ? 

A. — I saw none. 

±5th ({. — Did you observe, or understand, tliat Gene- 
ral Wilkinson, by word, or deed, evier encouraged such 
waste or destruction ? 



ler's. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 14;3 

v3, — Never. CHAP. 

I6th ^. — Can you say, how the actioa was commeii- '*'^- 
ccd, whether by the enemy hanging on, and teazing our 
rear, or by our seeking and attacking him? 

d. — The action commenced, by their hanging on our 
rear; and their advanpe party firing upon us. 

The court adjourned to Tuesday, the 14th February, 
1815, at 10 o'clock, A. M. 



Troy, February 14th, 1815. 

Tlie court convened pursuant to adjournment. 

Col. JOHN B. WALBACH, adjutant-general, in the 
army of the United States, being sworn, as a witness, on 
the part of the prosecution, testified as follows : 

1st ^.— In November, 1813, did you accompany the 
expedition, down the St. Lawrence, and in what capa- 
city ? 

Jl — I accompanied the expedition, as adjutant-general 
of the army, under General Wilkinson. 

2(1 Q. — At what hour, were the troops directed to leavfr 
French Creek, on the 5th November ? And at what hour, 
did they actually sail ? 

^. — The order for embarkation, was as follows : 

AFTER GENERAL ORDERS. 

« Head ^uarterSf French Creek, 
4th JVoreni&er, 1813. 
« x4.s there is no appearance of rain, the commander in After g^e. 
thief recommends, that tliere should be no general en- j^^^"* V'Jj' 
campment; that the men properly assigned, by brigades Nov I8i. 
and corps, sliould make large and comfortable fires for 
themselves. 

<» The (generalf' will beat in place of 'reveille^,* at 4 
<'*clock, to-morrow morning, and the baggfige, camp 



444 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, equipage, &c. is to be packed* and loaded on board the 
^ boats J half an hour after, the < march* will beat, when the 
troops are to embark. These signals are to be given 
from the tent occupied by the General, and to run 
through the line. At 5 o'clock. Colonel Eustis will dis- 
charge two guns, on which, the boats will put off, and 
proceed agreeably to the order of the day." 

In pursuance of the above order, the troops began to 
enter the boats, at the hour apptiinted ; and signals were 
beat. The flotilla was not in order to proceed, until 10 
o'clock ; a number of the boats were aground, and diffi- 
cult to be got off. 

3d ^. — At what hour, in the evening of the 5th, did 
the flotilla halt, below Morrisville ? 

ji. — I was sent in advance, in General Wilkinson's 
barge, to meet General Swift, and the troops did not ar- 
rive till evening, part of them, not until 10 o'clock, or 
perhaps later. The whole force, must have been landed 
by 12 o'clock. 

4tli Q. — Did you see General Wilkinson, in the after- 
noon and evening, of the 6th November, before, and while 
passing Prescott? What was his situation, at the time, in 
point of temperance ? 

^i. — I left General Wilkinson, by his orders, about 4 
o'clock in the afternoon, to visit tlie officers of the seve- 
ral corps and brigades, to ascertain, whether his private 
orders, relative to passing Prescott, were perfectly un- 
derstood; and that there might be no confusion. About 
three hours after, it being already dark, I returned to 
the schooner, and found that Colonels Scott and Gaines, 
(I believe General Swift) and some other officers were 
then on board. General Wilkinson held Colonel Gaines's 
hand, weh omed him, and a])peared to be much elated. I 
asked General Wilkinsftn, vvhefher he had any further 
ordei-s, and told him the troops whi( h were to march by 
land, V ere preparing to form. General Wilkinson, di- 
rected me then, to go, make the ai'rangements, and he 
would follow. After being three or four minutes on 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 145 

boaifl, I left the schooner, and did not see General Wil- chap. 

V 

kinson again that night. \-#-v-^ 

5th Q.— Was he at any time, in tlie evening, of the 6th, 

Intoxicated, and incapable of discharging his functions, 

as commander in chief? 
J. — Not that I can say ; he was elated, as I before General 

Wilkinson 

mentioned. not intosL- 

6th Q At what time, the next morning, did you see ^'^^^^^ «" 

^ o' ^ ^jjg even- 

General Wilkinson, and was he then intoxicated, or in- in^ofthe 
capable of discharging his duties, as commanding ge- '^^'^■ 
neral ? 

^. — A little after sun-rise, the next morning, I saw Saw Gene- 
General Wilkinson below Ogdensburgh, standing by a ttnson 
fire in an open space, in the woods, he appeared to be the next 
much fatigued, and unwell; he was not then intoxicated, he was 
or incapable of discharging his duties. He informed me, peithei- 

, ^ , intoxicat- 

that by some cowardly, or treacherous act, an ordnance ed, nor 

and some other boats, had run into Oswegatchie: and he "'cap^i^le 

'-^ of duty, 

gave me orders to repair there, and see to it. I inform- 
ed the General, my horses were far in tlie rear, and he 
told me to take a citizen's horse, standing near, and go, 
whirh I obeyed. 

Tfh Q. — Did you convey any orders, from General 
Wilkinson, on the 10th November, to General Boyd, or 
any other officer, on shore? and what were these or- 
ders ? 

J.—l received no order, from General Wilkinson, ex- 
cept the general order, dictated by him in his bed, on the 
10th, in the morning. He at the same time, desired me 
to leave General Brow n, and put myself under the or- 
ders of General Boyd. I did not see him again, ujitil 
after passing the Saut. On the evening of tlie lOtlu I 
calii d^ !.'ut \s as irsformed, he was too ill to be seen. Af- General 
tcr the battle of the 11th, I received an order from him, ^^'^'""son 

' _ orders 

through Colonel Pinkney, to take charge of the artillery, witness to 

escorted by dragoons, and deliver them, ai the peril of my ',^^^^^^^^1 

lifey to General Brown. General Boyd gave the ordei's, wiiii artil- 

for the embarkation of the troops, after the b;ittle, and cnier^al 

the first brigade embarked^ without my knowledge. Brewn.- 

voL. lir. T 



i^Q MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, The court adjourned to Wednesday, the 15th February, 
^- 1815, at 10 o'clock, A. M. 



Troijf February ISth, 1815. 

The court convened pursuant to adjournment. 
Crosses- The cross-examination of Colonel Walbach, was com- 
ammation. j^f^gj^^xgd jjy General Wilkinson, as follows : 

Ist <^.— In what capacity, have you served with Gene- 
ral Wilkinson? for hdw long a time, and in what parts 
of the United States ? 

^q.. — I joined General Wilkinson, at the city of Wash- 
ington, the latter part of 1 SOI; received the command of 
a detachment of dragoons; accompanied him to Pitts- 
burgh, the middle of December, the same year. At 
Pittsburgh, General Wilkinson attached me to his fami- 
ly, as an extra aid-de-camp. In April, 1802, in this ca- 
pacity, I accompanied him to Presqu'isle, BufFaloe, Black 
iiock, Fort Niagara, 6cc., on Lake Ontario; returned to 
Pittsburgh, thence went down the Ohio, to the encamp- 
ment, at Wilkinsonville, tlience to South-west Point, in 
Tennessee, returned to Wilkinsonville, proceeded down 
the Ohio, and Mississippi, to Chickasaw Bluffs; thence 
to Natchez, and Fort Adams, Mississippi Territory. 
After this, visited the Chactaw and Chic kasaw nations, 
and went to the big bend of the Tennessee ; here General 
Wilkinson left me, in Marc!), 1802. I, afteinvards, met 
General Wilkinson, at the agency of the Chactaw nation, 
accompanied him from thence, to the Creek nation, and 
Fort Wilkinson, in Georgia, where he held a treaty with 
the Indians: there I left him. In the spring, of 1803, I 
again joined General Wilkinson, at Natchez, accom- 
panied him to Fort Adams, and after some time parted 
from him. In May, ISOJ^, I met him in New^ Yoik, and 
accompanied him to Washington, w here I left his family, 
to join my regiment. 

2d Q. — Did you ever know him to shrink from duty, 
or attempt to impose on otiiers, what he was not willing 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 14/^ 

io do himself, from the life of a private, to the command chap. 
of a chief ? 

ji. — I never did. 

3rf Q Was he not always attentive to the habits, 

manners, dress, health, police, and discipline of the 
troops ? And did he not detest drunkenness ? 

j1 Particularly so. General 

4th Q. — Have you not known him, when he found an son's de- 
old battalion, lost in ignorance, order the commissioned testation 
oflSccrs, to be drilled by his division quarter-master, and kenness. 
the non-commissioned officers, by his aid-de-camp? And 
has he not, occasionally, attended those drills in person ? 

j4, — I have. 

5th Q. — Has he not always appeared, zealous in his His zeal 

in tliG sgp* 

attachment to the public service; devoted to the honour vice of his 
of his profession; and faithful to the cause of his conn- country. 
try? 

J, — Yes, as far as I have been able to see. 

6th Q. — Were you not attached to his person, in the 
campaign of 1813, on the northern frontier? and in what 
capacity ? 

^. — I was attached to the staff of his family, as adju- 
tant general. 

7th Q. — When he returned from Fort George to Sack- state of 
ett's Harbour, the beginning of October, was he not ill, ^'jt*^^ 
and, with the exception of a few days, confined to his son's 
room, or his bed, until he sailed for Grenadier Island, ^^^^^^' 
the 21st of October? 

^. — He was. 

8th Q. — ^Were not the corps composing the divisions at 
Fort George, and Sackett's Harbour, very much broken 
and deranged ? 

A.' — 'They were. 

9th Q. — Were not orders issued at Sackett's Harbour, 
to incorporate, and consolidate the several corps, thus 
frittered into detachments ? 

^.__Yes, 

±Oth Q — Were not those necessary preparations, to 



148 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, tlie movement of the army, made at Sackett's Harljour, 
^' before its embarkation ? 

A. — Orders were issued to that effect, and they were 
necessary. 

\lth Q. — "Were any orders issued by General Wilkin- 
son, for supplying the troops, with ten day's provisions, 
after he reached Sackett's Harbour ? 

j1. — Not to my recollection; but I have some faint im- 
pression, that an order to that effect, was issued, but I 
know not by whom. 
The airi- ±9Jh Q. — Could the army, be organized into brigades 
troo^ps ^^^^^ divisions, and arranged for action, before the di- 
fiom Fort vision from Fort George, arrived at Sackett's Har- 

Georsre a , t 

hour i 
necessary """^ 

prelimi- J, — It could not. 

the or --a- 13f/i Q. — What was the state of the winds, and the 
iiizationof yypather, after General Wilkinson reached Sackett's 
Harbour ? And w as there any unnecessary delay, at 
that place, before the troops sailed for Grenadier Island? 
A. — We had very few days good weather ; the rain 
was almost incessant for several wrecks. I know of no 
unnecessary delay. 
Miserable ±4th Q. — What was the state of the troops, and of 
troops^Ind transport, at Grenadier Island ? 
transport. A.— Miserable. 

die?^"^ 15iA <2 Were not orders issued, to regulate the move- 
island, ments of the flotilla, down tlie St. Lawrence river, calcu- 
lated to meet every exig'Micy? And were not diagrams, 
and signal flags, designed and delivered to the several 
corps, to prevent confusion ? 

A. — They were at Grenadier Island; and issued at 
French Creek. 

l^th (I Do you believe a moment's delay, was unne- 
cessarily made at Grenadier Island, at French Creek, 
near Ogdensburgh, at tlie White House above Hamiltan, 
or afterwards, during the campaign? 
A. — Not within my knowledge. 

ITlh Q. — From your observation of the disposition, of 
the enemy on the Canadian shore, and the circumstances 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 149 

of llic navii^ation of the St. Lawrence, was not the de- chap. 
tachmcnt of Colonel Macomb, with the elite corps, a ju- ^' 
ilicious and necessary measure ? 
J. — I should suppose it necessary, as from the infor- Necessity 

mation I had received, the current set in towai'ds the °^ '^^*^*^'^" 

ing Colo- 
British shore, and there was a battery occupied by nel Ma- 
troops. On the 7th, shot were fired from field pieces, ^^"^^' 
moving by land down the river, at General Wilkinson's 
boats. This occurred the same evening, Colonel Ma- 
comb made his attack, and before information had been 
received fiom him, as to the result. 

ISth ^. — From similar considerations, was not the 
march of General Brown, on the 9th of November, and 
the detaching hiui to the front on the 10th, a precaution 
essential to the safety of the troops, while descending the 
St. Lawrence ? 

Ji. — It was, according to my opinion, to prevent our General 
boats from being harassed, in descending the rapids, and fj[vance 

at the foot of them. essential 

lOih ^.— Did you march with General Brown, on the J^^l^^ P^f' 
9th of November, from the Narrows to the Yellow House? the troops. 
At what hour did the corps move; and at what hour halt,- in^^the 
and what distance did you march ? rapids. 

A. — We left the British shore, opposite the Wliite 
House, perhaps from 9 to 10 o'clock, in the morning 
of the 9th. 1 did not reach Chrystler's farm, with the 
rear guard of General Brown's brigade, until sunset. 
I know not the distance we marched 5 it was, perhaps, 
fifteen miles. 

2,0th Q. — Will you describe, the circumstances of this Flotilla 
day's movement, and say whether the flotilla, did not mucir 
float with the current two miles, in the same time, the ""o""^ ''^' 

pidly than 

troops marched one ? the de- 

A. — We marched in the morning, before the boats lathment. 

sailed, and they passed us about half v/ay. The ioats 

proceeded much more rapidly, than the detachment on 

shore. 

Qlst ^. — Will you describe what were the occurrences, 

of the lOth of November; and at v>^hat distance the 



150 

CHAP. 
V. 



MEMOIRS BY 

flotilla came to, that day, from the head of the Long 
Saut ? 

^. — I suppose the flotilla stopped, about three miles 
from the head of the Long Saut ; there was skirmishing 
with the enemy about noon, in which they were repulsed; 
several of our men were killed, and one officer, Lieute- 
nant Corry, of the 26th, wounded. 

22(1 Q Did not the order of the 10th of November, 

leave General Boyd, the discretion, to meet and fight 
the enemy, according to his own judgment, should they 
attack, or press his i-ear ? 

^. — Sucli an order was dictated by General Wilkin- 
son, from liis bed, and is in the following words : 



MORNING GENERAL ORDERS. 



" Head Q^tiarterSf Tuttle Bay, 
10th J\''or ember, 1813. 
MorniDg a General Brown will prosecute his march, with the 
order, troops yesterday under his command, excepting two 
lOthNov. pieces of artillery, and the 2d dragoons, who, witli all 
the well men of the other brigades, except a sufficient 
number to navigate the boats, are to march under the 
orders of Brigadier-general Boyd. This precaution is 
enjoined, by regard to the safety of the men's lives, in 
passing the Long Saut : and, as this rapid is long, and 
dangerous, the General earnestly requests, the command- 
ing officers of regiments, and companies, to examine the 
boats, and see them properly fitted, in order to avoid ac- 
cidents, as much as possible. Brigadier-general Boyd, 
will take the necessary precaution, to prevent the enemy 
who hangs on our rear, from making an advantageous 
attack 5 and if attacked, is to turn about, and beat them. 
The boats are to resume the station, assigned them in the 
original order, respecting the flotilla ; and for this, the 
commanding officers of regiments, or brigades, will be 
held responsible. The movement of yesterday, was a re- 
proach to the service. The flotilla will come too to day, 
at Barnh art's, .«iear Crab Island, and two guns from the 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 151 

front, will be the signal for landing. In ca>e of an at- chap. 
tack in force, beyond all expectation, the columns under ^ • 
Generals Boyd and Brown, are to co-operate with each 
other, promptly, and with decision. The general officer 
of the day, will see that the flotilla puts off, and moves 
in the prescribed order; and will arrest any officer, who 
presumes to deviate therefrom." 

25d ((. — ^Did not the enemy fire on, and endeavour to 
harass the rear of General Boyd's command, on the 
morning of the 11th November, before the general action 
commenced? 

J. — Yes ; the advance of the enemy, made their ap- 
pearance early in the morning; they did not attack, 
though a pistol or two was fired. Our army made no 
movement, in consequence of it. Afterwards, when the 
gun boats fired upon our lines, we retired; refused our 
right, and threw our left towards the woods. 

24,//^ q. — Were you not engaged in the aSair of the 
11th of November? Had you a fair view of the enemy's 
force that day ; and what was tlieir strength, according 
to your judgment ? 

A. — 1 was : and had a fair view of the enemy in the Estimates 
plain, exclusive of those in the woods, and in the houses: t"^^"*^- 

i ■ ' _ ' my storccT 

and suppose the whole, regulars, Indians, and militia, to at between 
have been between eleven and twelve hundred. ^^^^ 

2.5th Q. — What was our force, in your opinion, en- 
gaged on that day, including infantry, cavalry, and ar- 
tillery, under General Boyd, and the reinforcements, 
under Colonel Upham? 

w3. — ^The infantry (exclusive of Colonel Upiiam,) were 
from thirteen to fourteen hundred; the dragoons, after 
some were dismounted, to furnish horse^s for the artille- 
ry, and other purposes, were about one hundred and 
twenty ; there were two pieces of artillery at first, and 
more were sent from the boats during the engagement. 

26th ((. — Were not the artillery horses moved off with 
General Brown, and do you know by whose authority ? 

A, — They were ; but I know not by whose order. 



152 



MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP. 

V. 



Flotilla 
detained, 
for want 
of intelli- 
gence, 
from 
General 
Brown. 



The halt 
of the flo- 
tilla ne- 
cessary, 
for the 
protection 
of General 
Boyd. 



Action 
ought to 
have been 
renewed. 



27th Q.— «-Were not dragoons dismounted, and their 
horsos employed, in drawing into the action, the four 
pieces of field artillery, landed from the boats ? 

v3.-— They were. 

2Sth Q^. — Did not the enemy engage General Brown, on 
the 10th of November? Did you hear the firing; and 
what time of day did this happen ? 

Ji. — I heard the firing of General Brown, down the St. 
Lawrence, about 11 or 12 o'clock j and we supposed, he 
was engaged with the enemy. 

^9th ^. — Do you know what were the causes, which 
prevented the flotilla from descending the Long Saut, on 
the 10th of November ? 

J. — We waited for information, of General Brown's 
movements. 

oOth ^. — Do you know, what prevented the sailing of 
the flotilla, on the 11th of November ? 

[JV*o answer inserted in the o^cial copy received from the 
war department.] 

Sist Q. — If the boats and troops had put off, and en- 
tered the Long Saut, on the morning of the 11th of No- 
vember, would not General Boyd, have been exposer', 
with only two pieces of artillery, and without the rein- 
forcement of Colonel Upham, to the whole force of the 
enemy, which he engaged that day ? 

Jl. — Certainly. We could expect, no immediate re- 
inforcements from any other quarter, after the boats en- 
tered tlie Long Saut. 

52d Q.— After the troops that had fallen bark, were 
reinforced, and supplied with ammunition, on the 11th 
of November,; did you see any reason why the attack, 
on tlie enemy, should not have been renewed ? 

^9. — I expected the attack would have been renewed, 
after reorganizing the brigade; and was fully convinced, 
if it had been, the enemy would have been beaten. 

S3d Q. — Did the enemy press you, in retiring from 
the ground of action? Or, did they advance afterwards, 
that day ? 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 103 

54th Q. — When General Wilkinsfm arrived at Sack- chap. 



ctt's Harbour, or in a few days after, did he not manifest 
a disposition, to attack Kiiii^ston ; and is the paper now 
presented to you, a translation into the French language, 
of the address, he propositi to offer, to the inhabitants of 
that place, and its neia^hbourhood ? 

Jl — He did. Between the 8th and I2th of October, (I 
cannot be very precise as to tlie date,) the address pro- 
duced, and read in court, was prepared. 

35th Q.— Did the orders, and arrangements of General 
Wilkinson, during the campaign of 1813, manifest great 
zeal, and attention to the honour, and interests of the go- 
vernment; and did he not make every exertion, in his 
power, to jittain the great objects of the campaign? 

^. — As far as came within my knowledge. 

56ih (^. — Did you see any wanton waste, or destruc- 
tion of provisions, by tlie soldiers, during the campaign 
of 1813? And did you ever hear, of General Wilkinson's, 
encouraging such profligacy, by word or deed ? 

^. — Not to my knowledge. 

57th Q. — Iti the whole course of your service, with Gene 
Wilkinson, did you ever hear of, or observe any neglect, or 
disiegard of the public jjroperty, of any kind, on his part?. 

Jl. — Not witliin my knowledge. 

SSth <^. — Did you ever receive any reports, or returns 
of tlie division^ under General Hampton, from Colonel 
King, his adjutant-general, after you joined the troops 
at Sackett's Harbour ? 

ji. — None to my recollection. I took with me several 
reports and returns, when I left General Hampton's 
army, at Burlington; they were taken by his desire, but 
not officially. Whether they were signed by Colonel 
King, I know not. General Hampton stated to me, < You 
may take these returns, and inform General Wilkinson, 
that, in case of necessity, 1 should feel no dislike, to co- 
operate with him ; notwithstanding, I understood when I 
left Washington, that I was to have a separate and inde- 
pendent command.' I believe, I mentioned it to General 
Wilkinson, some time after my return. 

VOL. III. U 



\ 



154; 



MEMOmS BY 



General 
WUkiu- 
son's 
health. 



CHAP. S9th q. — From the time yaii saw General Wilkinson. 
^' at Sackett's Harbour, the 4tli of October, 181 S, until you 
parted with him at French Mills, the 23(1 of November, 
what was the state of his health ? And did you not leave 
him confined to his bed, greatly emaciated, and unable to 
set up ? 
Proves the j, — He was geiierfilly ill; I did not see him out of his 
bed, at French Mills, and left him confined to it, greatly 
emaciated. 

^Oth ^. — From your observations, what was the health 
of the army, after it left Sackett's Hai'bour, until the 
11th of November, and what was the ])revailing disor- 
ders ? 

A. — The army was sickly, principally with the dysen- 
tery; and the sickness increased daily. I believe, there 
were as many as eighty out of one hundred, who were 
afflicted with tiiis complaint; most of them however per- 
formed duty. 

4lst Q. — Did you ever converse, with Doctor Ross, re- 
specting the quality of the flour, served to the army, at 
Sackett's Harbour, and its vicinity ? 

A. — According to the reports of Doctor Ross, and my 
own observation, the unusual sickness was ascribed, to 
the batl quality of the water, and provisions, i)articularly 
the flour, and bread. 



The court adjourned to the 16th February, 1815, at 10 
o'clock, A. M. 

Troy, February ±6tJi, 1815. 

The court convened pursuant to adjournment. 

Major-general Wilkinson, being prevented by indispo- 
sition, from attending, the court adjourned to Friday, 
the 17th February, at 10 o'clock A. M. 



Troy, February 17 th, 1815. 
The court convened pursuant i(* adjournment. 
The cross-examination, of Colonel Walbach, was re- 
sumed as follows ; 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 4.1& 

42(1 q. — Be pleased to inform the coirrt, why the or- chap. 
dors, nspecting the flotilla, of tite 29tl» and 30th of Octo- ^^^,.3^,^^ 
ber. dated at Grenadier Island, were issued at French 
Creek, the 4tli November ? 

w3. — It was to keep, the intended movement of the army, 
secret from the enemy. 

iSd q. — Did not General Wilkinson, reach French 
Creek very ill ? And did he leave that place, in the same 
situation? And was there any council of war, held 
there ? 

^. — I did not see him, until late in the evening of the 
4th, when in all appearance, he was much indisposed^ 
and left French Creek, in tlie same situation. There 
was no council of war, to my remembrance, at French 
Creek. 

ISAxiC CLARK, Colonel of the 26th regiment of Examlna- 
United States riflemen, being sworn and examined, as a qq, isaac 
witness, on the part of the prosecution, testified, Clark. 

That in March, 1814, (he thinks, on the 29th of the 
month) he accompanied Major-general Wilkinson, in the 
expedition against the Mill of La Cole, in the province 
of Lower Canada. He commanded the advance guard. Affair of 
of the army, consisting of tlie riflemen "under Major For- V/i?°^* 
syth, the 30th and 31st regiments of infantry, and part 
of a company of the 11th, in all amounting to about six 
hundred men. He could not state exactly, what was the 
whole effective force, employed in the expedition, but 
from observation, he should say, it was between three 
and four tljousand men. His first orders were given to 
him, by General Wilkinson, who informed him, he was 
to command the van, and designated the corj)s, which 
were to compose it. Subsequently, he received orders 
from Colonel Cummings, adjutant-general. He could ' 
not tell, what time the army left Plattsburgh, as he was 
ordered from Massisque Bay, and joined it at Cham- 
plain, about eight miles from La Cole Mill. The dis- 
tance of t!ie latter, from Plattsburgh, is about thirty 



156 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, miles. The roiids were bad, and the season unfavour- 
able; but the day, on which they marched, was pleasant. 
The van marched from Champlain, about 10 o'clock 
in the morning; and according to liis impression, though 
he cannot be precise, it arrived before La Cole, about 1 
or 2 o'clock, P. M. In their approach to it, they had to 
turn off from the main road, and proceed nearly four 
miles, tlirough the woods; they had nqthing but a sleigh 
path, not wide enough for artillery, and in many places 
obstructed by trees, cut down (or the purpose; axe-men 
were employecl, to clear away these obstacles, and in some 
parls to straighten the road. Parties of the enemy also 
occasionally appeared, but did not much impede their 
march. The witness further stated, that he does not 
know, of there being a better road, than the one they 
took. What pieces of artillery, accompanied the army, 
and of what calibre, it is impossible for him to tell, but 
it was said, there was an eighteen, a twelve, and a six 
pounder. They had draft horses with them; but what 
number of them, he does not know; nor whether any oxen. 
Mill a accompanied the expedition. The Mill he siiould judge 

sl rone* 

building, is about fifty, or sixty feet long, and foriy feet broad. It 
and resist- jt, ^ strotts: building, and the stones which form the walls 

ed 12 lb. o o' 

sho , for ft''e principally large and heavy. The walls must be 
two hours, fi-om two and a half, to three feet thick ; and resisted, 
what were called twelve pound ball, for two hours, and 
no visible impression was made on them. There were 
several log buildings, adjacent to the mill, which appear- 
ed to be occupied by the enemy, and from which there 
was firing. There was also a building, called a block 
house, but he did not conceive it was built purposely fop 
that use. He thought the enemy had one piece of artil- 
lery ; but whether the sliot proceeded from the mill, or 
from a gun-boat adjacent, he could not say. It was im- 
. possible to ascertain the number of the enemy, from ap- 

tlie ene- p<'arance, as they were ujider cover. But from informa* 

^XJ^ ^'Vnn tion, ffiven by dt serters and prisoners, there must have 

at 6 or 700 '•->.' i ' 

men. been six, or seven hundred men, (in and about the mill) 



GENERAL WILKINSON. I57 

consisting of four companies of the 13th regiment, anti chap. 
forty or fifty incorporated militia. In addition to these, ^" 
two companies of voltigeiirs came up, an iiour and a half 
after the commencement of the action, attacked our line, 
and on heing repulsed, also retired into the mill. Tlie Descnp- 
wails of the mill, are three stories high, and in every ^^^i^ 
direction were loop holes, and apertures for musketry, 
and some through the roof. The mill had one door, on 
the east side, hut none was visible in the south, where we 
made our approaches. Half an hour after the attack 
commenced, two pieces of artillery, a twelve and a six 
pounder, were brought up, and opened a fire Jipon the 
mill J but the eighteen pounder did not approach, the 
scene of action, within a number of miles. Why it re- 
mained behind, he could not say; but after finding, that 
no impression was made, by the two pieces employed, he 
rode to General Wilkinson, and asked, whether he had 
not some heavier artillery? The adjutant-general, or 
some otiier officer near him, replied, tiiat the carriage of 
the eighteen pounder was broken. He also deposed, that 
the roof of the mill was of wood, but that nn red hotshot, 
was used to set fire to it, as they had no furnacts. Dur- Repulse ctf 
ing the attack, two companies, who he understood from ^ sallying 
deserters, were part of the 13th regiment, sallied from Eorrf'the 
the mill, upon the centre of our line, apparently to take "^^^^• 
the field pieces. They were defeated with great loss, 
very much cut to pieces; and alter their repulse re-en- 
tered the mill. It would have been rather difficult, for 
our troops to have followed them up, and entered the 
place with the enemy, as the mill was very well guard- 
ed; and he heard of no proposition, to that eiFict, at the 
time. He does not know, wiiether tiie surrender of the 
place, was demanded; but was confident, there was no 
flag sent out. 

The mill was on the north side of a stream, frozen 
over; our attack was against the south side. The ad- 
vance was regularly posted, and the lire of tlie artillery 
was kept up about two iiours; there was perhaps a short 



turns to 
Odletown. 



158 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, cessation for want of cartridges. The firing of musket- 
^- ry, on both sides, continued until our artillery was moved 
Fir nff °"^ "^ danger; and the whole ceased ne a* sun down. Our 
ceases. army remained near the scene of action, not exceeding 
half an hour longer. The witness, then, by order of 
General Wilkins »n, withdrew a party of four hundred 
men, (consisting of Major Forsyth's riflemen, and 200 
men of General Bissell's brigade) who had been detach- 
ed to the rear of tiie mill, to cut off the retreat of the ene- 
my, in case our artillery had effected a breach, and bat- 
Army re- tered down the wall. The whole army, shortly after, 
marched hack to Odletown, about six miles distant, 
where they remained during the night. There was no- 
thing hasty, or precipitate in this retreat. Orders were 
Retreat given to collect all the dead and wounded, before the 
re?'ii:ir, army retired, which was accomplished, as far as related 
de;.a and to the corps he commanded; and ihe wounded were prin- 
wounded pjpr^ijy gg„|; ^Q Champlain. The day following, the 

carried on * t. ■ ■ 

the field, army commenced its retrogade march to Plattsburgh. 

Tlie witness also stated, that the artillery pointed 
against the south side of the mill, were not in an oblique 
position : the shot struck square, and there was no 
glancing. He could not undertake to say, whether the 
place ought to have been carried, by the force under Ge- 
neral Wilkinson's command, nor whether the retreat was 
disapproved of, by the officers generally, as he imme- 
diately left the main body. General Wilkinson was, se- 
veral times, on the field during the attack; and the wit- 
ness recollects having received orders from him, and 
having seen him come up to the rear of the line, when 
the voltigeurs made their charge. The orders then 
given, he could not hear, but presumed General Wilkin- 
son directed all the operations of the day. The troops 
appeared to be very well disriplined, and kepftheir sta- 
tions. Nine or ten were killed, and thirty or forty 
womided, of the corps commanded by the witness ; but 
he does not know the loss of the other corps, nor why a 
retreat was ordered. But at the time it occurred, he ob- 
served the enemy's fire slackened, and concluded from it. 



CHENERAL WILKINSON. 15d 

they must have been short of ammunition. Our line was chap. 
then distant from the enemy, between one hundred and ^• 
one hundred and fifty yards, within fair musket shot. 

In the early part of the affair, tlie advance, by order of 
the witness, had been drawn up, a few rods nearer the 
enemy's woi'ks, in part covered, but perhaps closer than 
Hbey ought to have been ; but, finding thi? position too Troops 
much exposed, he caused the troops to retire, and form unneces- 
four or five rods in the rear. He also stated, that he s-^riiy ex- 
does not know, that any of the tcoops, were uselessly i-mg the 
employed, or unnecessarily exposed during the day. ^^Y- 

Cross-examined by General Wilkinson as follows : 

1st (^. — How long has La Cole Mill been built ; and 
do }ou know, from whence the stone was taken, of which 
the hous«' was built ? 

j^. — It was built soon after the revolutionary war. I 
know not from whence the stone was taken. 

2d q, — Were not the doors, and windows, of La Cole 
Mill-house, stopped up, and the building converted into 
a fortification? 

J. — 1 was informed, by deserters and prisoners, that 
the walls in the inside, were braced and filled by hewn 
timber, so as to double its strength, making it stronger, 
in fact, than if the entire had been stone. 

S(/ Q. — Can the roof of a house be burnt by hot shot, 
when covered by a foot or eighteen inches of snow, and 
attended by many hands within ? 

./f. — There was no snow on the roof. 

iith Q. — Do you recollect, at what time of day, you 
left the ground on which the troops were formed, n«ar 
the mill of La Cole ? 

./f.— Near sun down. 



Col. DECIUS WADSWORTH, commissary general Testims^ 
of oi'dnance, being sworn and examined, as a witness for "7,*^^ , 

. , , Colonel 

the prosecution, deposed ; Decius 



ino 



MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP. 
V 

Wtds- 
worth. 



Arma- 
ment at- 
tacked by 
a British 
flotilla. 



Accompa- 
nies ilie 
flotilla 
past Pres- 
cott. 
First 
boats 



That ill the expedition of 1813, down the St. Law- 
rent e, he was commissary of ordnanre ; that he re( ol- 
let ts of no paifirular orders, beini; i^iven him, relative to 
his department, by General Wilkinson ; but orders, he 
presumes, had been, previously, given to Major Bum- 
ford, who had the charge of the arsenal at Albany. 

The gun boats, at Sackett's Harbour, were equipped 
and prepared, under the direction of Major Brown, of 
the quarter-master general's department ; but he does not 
know, by what time they were in readiness. He left 
Sackett's Harbour for Grenadier Island, two or three 
days after the army moved ; but owing to a gale of wind, 
had to enter the St. Lawrence, and did not arrive at Gre- 
nadier Island, until a day or two afterwards. He be- 
lieves, he sailed from Grenadier Island, on the SOtli of 
October. A considerable detachment of troops, consist- 
ing of part, or the whole of Colonel Macomb's regiment, 
and others, embarked the same day; but owing to bois- 
terous weather in the afternoon, did not proceed. This 
detachment stood out of the Harbour some hours before 
him; about 11 or 12 o'clock in the forenoon: the wea- 
ther was then moderate and pleasant. 

About three o'clock, the witness started in a sloop- 
rigged, slip-keeled boat; arrived at French Creek, about 
dark, and found there the regiment of light artillery. Ge- 
neral Brown's detachment, and Colonel Bissell's regi- 
ment. The second day after his arrival, two British 
brigs, two schooners, and some gun boats, came down 
and cannonaded them. One of the schooners, liowever, 
had appeared near French Creek, the day preceding. 
An attack was expected ; preparations had been made 
to receive them; and two eighteen pounders, with some 
field pieces, were landed for that purpose. 

He further stated, that he accompanied the flotilla, the 
night it passed Prescott, and the loss it sustained, was 
very trifling. The first boats moved, about 11, or 12 
o'clock, and it was, perhaps, an hour and a half, before the 
sentinels discovered tlwm. The distance from Prescott to 



GENERAL ^VILKINSON. 161 

the head of the Long Saut, he should judsje, was ahoiit CIIAP. 
forty miles; but he coidd not speak with precision. The 
boats, he conceived, woiihl have proceeded that distance, „,ovecl 
in a day, if there had been no debarkation. Ahiiost the -'^o" U 
wliole of the distance, to the foot of the Saut, the current o'ci- ck, 
is rapid. undisco. 

vereii by 

The witness added, that if it was necessary, to debark the senti- 
the troops, before passing Prescott, then there was no "''"!' '""^ 

^ * "^ . an hour 

unnecessary delay at that place ; but this he does not un- ai\d a half, 
dertake to decide; nor whether there was any unneces- 
sary delay, between Prescott, and the Long Saut. But 
if the army had been put in motion, earlier the morning 
it started, from the White House, it might have proceed- 
ed to the foot of tlje Saut. He does not know the hour, 
the flotilla sailed from the White House, but it did not 
pass the rapid Plat, about five or six miles below it, until 
1 o'clock. He is not acquainted with the reason of this 
delay. He has been down the Long Saut, repeatedly ; 
there are two channels, formed by an island, called Barn- 
hart's Island, six or seven miles in length, he imagines ; 
the channel, on the Canada side, is impassable. From 
Barnhart's island, troops might have molested the flotilla 
in its passage ; but it is hardly probable, they would have 
risked it, as they would all have been liable to capture : 
the water is rather rapid, though he should judge it prac- 
ticable, to land on the island, in different places ; but the 
convenient landing, is two miles below the Long Saut. 

He further stated, that there is more than one island, 
in the Long Saut; he believes several — one above Barn- 
bart*s. 

The witness was cross-examined, by General Wilkin- 
son, as follows : 

±st ^. — Did you see any provisions, or stores wanton- Saw no 
ly wasted, or destroyed on the expedition ? wanton 

^. — No Sir. P'ovi- 

2(1 q.—Bo you kn(iw any thing of the hospital depart- gtoye;"" 
inent, and the shipment of the stores, and medicines o^ 

VOL. in. X 



163 MElVtoIRS BY 

CHAP, the same? Or whether they were in charge of any par- 
^ tinilar person? 

J. — Doctor Ross went in the boat with me, and there 
were some stoi es in thtit boat. 

Sri Q. — Do yoii know, whether General Wilkinson, 

was, or was not strongly opposed, to descendins; the St. 

Lawrence, and attackiMi^ Montreal, after his arrival at 

Sarkett's Harbour, from Fort George? 

General j_ — \ understood from him fully, that it was his opi- 

'Iv^sh nion, that the army should move against Kingston. 



son s 



to riiuick i^tji Q. — Was not General Wilkinson, strongly in fa- 
ings on. ^^^^^ ^j, ^j^^ attack of Kingston ? 

J, — I recollect he expressed his opinion in favour of 

it. 

5th ^. — Did you hear, or know of the enemy, being 
on post, at any point or points, on the left bank of the 
St. Lawrence, with design to annoy the descent of the 
flotilla? 

Ji, — I heard some flying reports, of the enemy being at 
Cornwall, but nothing certain. 

Gfh q. — On the morning the flotilla left the White 
House, was not the enemy observed in our rear? Did 
not a skirmish ensue, and was not a man of Forsyth's 
corps killed ? 

J, — On the evening the army crossed, from the White 
House, it was well known in the camp, that a reinforce- 
ment had arrived at Prescott, and it was stated, had 
passed the Galloes, five or six miles below Prescott. , I 
did not hear of any skirmish. 

7th Q. — The enemy on our rear, being in boats, es- 
corted by gun-boats, could they not have descended the 
St. Lawrence, as fast as our flotilla? and could not mus- 
ketry, stationed on the bank, have greatly annoyed, and 
galled the troops, in our boats? 

t^. — After they had overtaken, they might have haras- , 
sed ns; but it would not have been practicable, for the 
boats to have retreated up the river. At several points 
On the river, musketry might have annoyed us. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 163 

2th Q. — How many boats can enter the Saut, at the chap. 
same time, and descend it abreast? ^ 

.4. — I never saw but one, enter it at a time, and do 
not know how many moie could; three or four perhaps 
might, as the narrowest part of the Saut, is about two 
hundred yards wUW. 

9th ^.—Suppose our flotilla to have consisted of three 
hundred boats, how long would it have taken, the last 
boat to get into the Saut, after the first had entered it? 

.5. — I cannot answer. 

lOth Q. — Did you see any thing of the enemy's gun- 
boats? and from your observation, vV^re they not an 
overmatch for our armed barges ? 

^ — They were much superior to ours, in their arma- Enemy's 
ment, if they were similar to the one we captured. I ffn'i-'^oats 
saw a twenty-four pound shot, which had been (ired from to aie° 

one of them. American, 

lith (I. — Suppose the gun-boats, of the enemy hanging ment. 
on our rear, had seized on the moment, when one half 
our flotilla had entered the Saut, and had pressed the 
other half, would not those boats have been sunk, or 
obliged to run on shore. 

iS. — The enemy would have produced, a great deal of An attack 
confusion, unquestionably. iipon our 

12th Q — Were not the narrows, at the White House, tering the 
the best crossing for the cavalry, on the St. Lawrence, ^•*""» 
between that place and Bartdiart's, ajul were not our ca- h;ive occa- 
valry crossed at that place ? sioncd 

^ rni » . -J ^1 . „coniusion- 

Jl. — They were. And it was the nari'owcst part of 
the river. 

15th ^. — Could the cavalry, have kept pace with the 
flotilla, from opposite the White House, to the Saut? 

A. — 1 conceive they might, to the head of the Saut. 

The court adjourned to Saturday, the 18th February, 
1815, at 10 o'clock, A. M. 

Troij, February iSth, 1815, 
The court convened pursuant to adjournmenr. 



164j memoirs by 

CHAP. Majnr-gcneral Wilkinson being prevented, by indispo- 

^ sition, from attcnditig. 

r. , , The court adiourned to Monda}', the 20tli February* 

jounisoii at 10 o'clock, A. M. » 

account of 
Generiil 

Wilkin. Troy, February mth, 1815. 

dlsposi.. '^''^ court convened pursuant to adjournment, 
tion. Colonel Wadsworth again appearing, his cross-exami- 

nation was resume;!, as follows : 

XAth Q. — Did you observe, what articles of public pro- 
perty, w ere on board the boat, furnished for your accom- 
modation ? 

Jl I never knew what they were, but undei-stood 

them to be stores, belonging to the hospital departntent. 

lotJi Q. — Where were you on thellili November? Did 
you make any observation, on the affair of Chrystler's 
iield? 

./3.-— In the morning, when the enemy's gun-boats came 
up, I presumed it would be necessary', to land some artil- 
lery; there was only one practicable place of landing; 
the passage to w hich, w as rather obstructed by boats of 
the floi ilia, and mine among others. I therefore, crossed 
over to the American side, to get out of the w ay, and pre- 
vent confusion. Shortly after, I f dlowed the boats, col- 
lected on this side, and entered the Saut. In our passage 
down, we first heard the firing. 

Questions hy the Judge Advocate. 

1st Q. — Did you ever hear, of any boats having been 
lost ill the Long Saut? 

^. — I do not remember I ever did. 

2.d f^. — Is it considered a very dangerous passage ? 

»^. — It is not comparable to the cedars. It appears 
somcw hat dangerous, but I do not conceive it to be real- 
ly so. 

Sd q. — Is it navigable for large rafts, loaded with pro- 
duce? 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 185 

w3.--Rafts descend it laden with wheat, flour, and otlier chap. 
kind of produce. ^' 

The judge advocate informed the court, that no otlier j^^i^ej^^j. 
witnesses were in attendance, on the part of the prose- vocate re- 
cution ; though some were shortly cxpeited : he asked |^"" \^ 
no delay, but, with the permission of tiie court, would examine 
avail himself of tlieir testimony, In case they arrived. nesses^ia 

The court, to prevent delay, acceded to this arrange- the event 
ment, and Major-general Wilkinson was called on, to arrivaL 
proceed with ids defence. 

The following examination, was taken by interroga- Major- 
tories, transmitted to Major-general Macomb, at Platts- Alexander 
burgh, and returned on the llth of March, 1815, after i^iacomb's 

., . , , I . 1 1 . T , .f 1 answer to 

the testimony was closed j which, being duly verified, i„terroga- 
was received by consent of parties. tones. 

Interrogatories, on the part of the prosecution. 

1st Q. — In the summer and autumn of 1813, was you 
attached, to the army of the United States? What was 
^your rank, station, and command ? 

.5. — I was stationed at Sackett's Harbour, in the sum- 
mer and autumn of 1813, and commanded that post, 
until the arrival of Major-general Lewis. I was Co- 
lonel of the 3d regiment of artillery, and commanded 
tliat corps. 

2rf q. — Did you accompany the expedition, under the 
command of Major-general James Wilkinson, from Sack- 
ett's Harbour to French Mills ? 

^ I did. 

5d ^. — Do you recollect at what time, and under what 
circumstan( es. the troops from Fort George, arrived at 
Henderson's Bay, or Sackett's Harbour? 

.5. — I do recollect their arrival at Henderson's Bay; 
but the date I cannot, precisely, state; it was early iu 
October, 1813. 

4th Q. — What was the state of the wind and '•weather, 
from the 20th of September, to the 9th of October, 1813? 
Was it favourable fbr aa expedition on the lake i 



166 



MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP. 

V. 

Weather 
generally 
unfavour- 
able, from 
the 20th 
Sept to 
the9ih 
October. 



The wea- 
ther at 
Sackelt's 
Harbour, 
4th Oct. 
and suc- 
ceeding 
days. 



Loss of 
provisions 
and trans- 
ports, not 
imputable 
t» delay. 



A. — The wind and weather, were various ; hut gene- 
rally iinCavourable, to the progress of the descending 
troops ; the officers complained of the distresses, of the 
expedition, from Fort George to Henderson harbour. 

Pith q. — On General Wilkinson's arrival at Satkett's 
Harbour, on the 4th of October, was Major-general 
Lewis's division, prepared to embark, and under orders 
for that purpose? Were any of the troops, artillery, pro- 
visions, or stores, actually embarked, and again disem- 
barked, by order of General Wilkinson? 

A. — The troops were prepared, at Sackett's Harbour, 
to go on an expedition; none were embaiked, of those 
under my command, nor were the boats assigned them: 
a great many boats, however, were collected at the Har-^ 
hour, and a few pieces of ordnance, 1 think, were put in 
the scows. 

6th Q. — What was the state of the weather, at the time 
last stated, and for some succeeding days ? 

A. — The weather was very bad and stormy, frequent- 
ly raining, and continually blowing excessively. 

7th Q. — With the preparations made, could you at this 
time, have moved the troops, to Grenadier Island, with 
facility and safety ? 

^. — The navigation was exceedingly difficult ; yet a 
skilful pilot might have done it, notwithstanding the 
weather, with proper preparations ; but, whether such 
were made, I cannot say. 

8th Q. — Was not the loss in transports, and provisions, 
in the passage from Sackett's Harbour, to Grenadier 
Island, occasioned by the delay, consequent on General 
Wilkinson's countermanding the order for embarkation? 

A. — I do not know, that the General countermanded 
the order for embarkation ; if he did, I do not believe the 
loss was occasioned, by the delay occasioned thereby. 

9th Q. — Was there any necessity, or utility in the new 
arrangements, made by General Wilkinson, on his ar- 
rival? 

A. — I cannot answer t!ie question, as they did not 



GENERAL WILKTNSON. 167 

come to my knowledge, nor I do not recollect any such chap 
arrangements. 

lOt/i Q. — Was there any unnecessary delay, in the 
movement of the troops, from Grenadier Island? If so, 
state the circumstanros, and partirulai's thereof? 

Jl, — To this question, I can only answer, as far as it 
concerns my own corps : we were delayed, by some mis- 
understanding in shifting the boats; we were first order- 
ed to the gun boats, which were assigned by the quai'ter- 
master-general,' then ordered out of tliem, by General 
Wilkinson ; this detained us twenty-four hours, 

nth Q. — Were the corps of artillery embarked, and 
again disembarked at Grenadier Island, and was there 
sufifirient cause for the same ? 

^. — This question is answered in the foregoing an- 
swer. Tiie General expected Colonel Randolph's corps, 
of about 250 or 300 men, which would want transports ; 
and I afterwards understood, this was the cause of the 
derangement, and consequent (!elay. Colonel Ran- 
dolph's corps was transferred, to Grenadier Island, by 
the navy. 

12//i Q. — Was there any unnecessary delay, at French 
Creek, or below Morrisvillc, prior to passing Prescott ? 
If so, state the grounds, upon which you form such judg- 
ment ? 
^, — I cannot say. 

15th Q. — Did you see any provisions, or hospital 
stores, left on shore, by officers commanding in boats ? 
Or do you know, of any wantonly wasted, pilfered, or 
destroyed, during the said expedition ? 

*5. — It was reported to me, that several boats, with 
hospital, and other stores, were cast away in the 
storm; but I heard nothing of their being pilfered, al- 
though it might have been a necessary consequence, as 
some boats were loaded, exclusively with beef; others 
with bread ; others with hospital stores : the wrecked 
creivs no doubt helped themselves. 

lii/i Q. — Did Major-general Wilkinson, in any, and 
at what times, during the said expeditions, countenance 



16a MEMOIRS BY 

CH\P. the waste of public property, by declaring that officers 
commanding in boats, need have no charge, or care 
thereof? Or what language, in particular, did he use? 
Never »4. — I never heard, tliat any such expressions fell from 

t^^''^ , the General. 

General 

Wilkin. ±5th Q, — Did you see Major-general Wilkinson, im- 

anr ex^ mediately previous to passing Prescott, or during such 

pressions passage; or on the night of the 6th November, 1813? 

nal'icing- ^^'' ^^''* afterwards, see him, on the morning of the 

waste of 7th, and where? At either of the above times, was he in- 

prop^ny! toxicated, and to what degree ? 

^. — I did see General Wilkinson, late in the afternoon. 
Saw Ge- " 
ncaiwil- I lead the column by land, and passed through Ogdens- 

kinson, burch, to the Red Mill, a distance of fourteen miles. 
late in the o ' ' ' 

afternoon when we halted. Tlic General was pej*fectly S'lber, when 
of the 6th £ g^^y Ij^jji^ I ^jjj j^^j|. g^^ |,j,j^ ^^j^ ^.j^g niorniug of Uie 7tU 
—he was ^ 

perfectly of November. 

sober. -^q^j^ q.— What were the particulars, of General Wil- 

kinson's conduct, relating to this point, which came un- 
der your observation, at tiie times last mentioned ? State 
them fully and minutely. 

^. — I did not see, any thing in the GeneraPs conduct, 
improper. 

17th Q. — Was you detached, on the 7tli or 8th of No- 
vember, to the Canada shore? With what corps; and 
what was the object? 

•3. — In the morning of the 7th, I received orders to 
cross to the Canada shore, for the purpose of driving 
the enemy, from the prominent points of the river, and 
particularly at Fort Matilda. I had with me about twelve 
hundred men, consisting of the 3d regiment of artil- 
lery. Colonel Randolph's corps, the riflemen, and New 
York volunteers. 

18th Q. — Had attempts been previously made, to re- 
connoitre the positions of the enemy, or to ascertain the 
true state of the defence, on the Canada shore ? 

J. — ^Colnnel Swift of the engineers, had been down the 
river, and he was pai'ticularly sent to me, to inform me 
of the contour of the Canadian shore^ and the proper 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 169 

places to land at^ from this, I presume, it was recoil- CFfAP. 

noitred. s.^-v->»«^ 

19/A (I. — Did you find tiie enemy in force, at any, and 
what p(»ints in your march? Did you dislodge them, from 
any fortified positions; or capture any ariilKry? Please 
to state the result of your enterprise, and the ciicum- 
stan( cs attending the same? 

Jl. — I proceeded, at 4 o'clork in the afternoon, of the 
7th Novemher, 1813, on the expedition j tlie boats of the 
riflemen, volunteers, and 20th regiment, did not float as 
fast, as those of the artillery; and we had to halt at about 
S miles from the mill, for the rear. Hci-e we discovered 
some men, hovering about the skirts of the woods, on the 
Canada side, and a man on our shore, calling out, and 
waving his hat, which induced us to near our side, to 
wait the arrival of the riflemen, and 20th regiment, and 
volunteers. And I supposed the person calling, was an 
oflicer, sent by General Wilkinson. As we moved to- Small de- 
wards our shore, the militia, Indians, and other troops ]^fxhe^^ 
came to the opposite bank, and began firing, whooping ene ny ob. 
and hallooing. The other boats having arrived, I ^1^, cu'na- 
. directed Colonel Scott, to lead the right column, Colonel da shore. 
Randolph the left, and the riflemen and volunteers, to 
land further up the river, to prevent the escape of tha 
enemy; about dark, the several columns reached the 
shore, under the fire of the enemy, and immediately 
formed and marched forward. The enemy, precipitate- 
ly, retired into the woods; one oflicer, of the regular 
forces, was taken before he could mount his horse. This 
officer informed me, that their force consisted, of about 
200 militia and Indians, and 100 regulars. Owing to 
my boats getting into a rapid, I fell down the river, and 
landed at the head of the column, and proceeded to Point 
Matilda, where the river is about 500 yards wide; here 
we expected the enemy would make a stand: but they ran 
off", leaving 8 or 10 muskets in their barracks. The bat- 
tery was not quite completed; but the position was sur- 
rounded, by narrow trenches, for the militia to stand ioj 
vol. IIL Y 



170 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, and fire at our boats, as they descended, which would 
^ have caused, great loss and confusion; particularly, as 
the battery is at the head of the rapids. 

20th ^. — Was this detaclimcnt necessary, in any re- 
spect? Or was the object of your designation, SLt all equivar 
lent to the delay produced by the same ? 

j[. — There, was every indication, of a large force, and 
it was in my opinion, proper, and necessary, to detach 
the corps on this service; and I do not think, it occa- 
sioned any delay, in the prosecution of the expedition. 

21st Q. — Do you know, or can you state, any other 
matter, or thing material, or important, to the prosecu- 
tion, as connected with the said expedition? If so, relate 
the same as fully, and as circumstantially, as if thereto, 
particularly interrogated. 

J.— No. 
Aff«^ir of 22d Q. — Did yow in March, 1814, (and on what days 
Mill. particularly) accompany Major-general Wilkinson, in 
the expedition against La Cole Mill, in the province of 
Lower Canada? 

Jl. — I accompanied General Wilkinson, in the expe- 
dition against La Cole Mill, on the 30th and 31st March, 
1814. 

2Sd Q. — What command did you then hold ? And what 
%vas the effective American force, employed ? 

A. — I was appointed to the reserve, consisting of about 
' 800 men; the whole effective force, was ahout three thou- 
sand. 

24:th Q. — What was the distance of La Cole Mill 
from Plattshurgh ; the state of the weather, and roads,' 
and the difficulties in making your approach to that 
post? 

ji. — I did not march, on the Plattshurgh road, havin,^ 
been on an expedition, on the east side of the lake, into 
Lower Canada. I crossed the ice fi'om S wanton, and 
joined the army, at the village of Champlain. The dis- 
tance from Plattshurgh to La Cole, is ahout SO miles. 
Tiic weather was clear and pleasant; the roads from 



\ GENERAL WILKINSON. I7I 

Cbamplain to La Cole, were very bad for artillery, but CHAP, 
good for footmen. Our greatest difficulties, was tlie blun- 
ders of our guide, who led the van past the mill road, and 
brought us into a skirmish, with the enemy, by which 
part of the day was lost; we reti4rned, but again missed 
the entrance into the wood, which occasioned great <liffi- 
culty, in getting the artillery through the bank of snow. 
The road leading to the mill, was about three miles in 
length, from the main road, too narrow for the axles of 
the artillery, the woods were impracticable for horse or 
foot. 

QBih Q. — What pieces of artillery accompanied the ar- 
my, and of what calibre ? 

^. — I do not know the number of pieces of artillery; X 
saw a great sufficiency; there were five and a half inch 
howitzers, twelve pounders, and I saw one eighteen 
pounder, which broke down in the road. 

26th Q. — Had you any, and what number, of draft 
horses, or oxen, in tlie expedition? 

yi. — I cannot tell; I saw both. 

27f/i Q. — What was the size of La Cole Mill, accord- 
ing to your observation? The state of its defences, and 
its capability to resist an attack ? Was there any for- 
tified post, or block houses, immediately adjacent? 

^. — The woods were so thick, that 1 could scarcely 
see it, it stood obliquely to me. It appeared liowever to 
be 70 or 80 feet lung, one story under ground, and two 
above. My command being the reserve, 1 could not see 
much of the place. I saw no defences, the trees and 
shrubs interfered. 

ZSth Q, — What was the number of the enemy collected 
at that post? And what comparison did they bear, to the 
army commanded by General Wilkinson, considered as 
an effective force? 

^. — I do not know; it was reported that 600 men 
were in the mill, and about l&OO or 2000 within striking 
distance. 

Q9th Q. — Were our heaviest pieces of artillery, brought 
into battery, against the mill? d^id why was it not done J 



l^S MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, .5. — No, because they could not be gotten up in time. 
^ SOtfi Q. — Was it not practicable, with the artillery, 

which accompanied the expedition, to have effected a 
breach, and dislodged the enemy? If so, why was it not 
carried into effect? 

Jl. — There was enough to have reduced it, beyond a 
doubt, could it have been brought up in time. 

alst Q. — Was there a twelve pounder brought to bear 
^gaijist the enemy's work ; and was it not fired without 
effect, in consequence of its oblique position causing the 
balls to glance? 
* A. — There was a twelve pounder ; but I cannot say, 

what effect it had, as I had not a fair opportunity of 
seeing. 

S2d Q. — Were red-hot shot employed, to set fire to the 
roof of the mill, and with what effect? If none were used, 
why was not the experiment tried ? 

^. — I did not see any preparations for hot shot; and 
I believe none were employed. I cannot say, why it was 
not aitcmptod, 

33</ Q. — Was it practicable, to have stormed the mill, 
at tl»e moment the enemy made their sortie ? And would 
the circumstances have justified the measure ? 

*3. — I do not think it would have been prudent, to have 
stormed tlie mill. 

54tli Q. — Was an attempt made to storm the sard 

post; or its surrender demanded? If not, why was it not 

done ? 

Ko de- J. — No ; because the enemy did not leave any room, 

surrender, ^^r such an idea or attempt ; they disputed every inch of 

or attempt ground* 

n?ade,'S' 35/7t q — Was the army, or any part of it, uselessly. 



the enemy's fire? 



i^ecled. 



no^ favour- and wantonly exposed, to 

eot'iidhave •^ — I think the artillery was nnnecessaz'ily exposed, 
been ex- because a few trees cut down, or a breast work of fas- 
cines or logs, would have saved the men at the pieces, 
from the musketry of tiie mill. 

36tk q. — Was the army, or any part of it, for anyj 
and what time, inactive before the said post ? What VAsas 



GENERAL AVILKINSON. I73 

the cause of such inactivity; and was the same proper, chap. 
or justifiable? v«**-v->,w' 

J. — The army took post agreeable to order, and act- ivecan- 
ed with the greatest reerularity : / do not think, there was '^"^" ^°^ 

° o •' ' prevent 

any mismanagement, except in the artillery; tJie position of the escape 
the troops was excellent, and would have prevented, the ^f ^^^ S'^^- 
escape of the garrison of the mill) if they had made the at- 
tempt. 

S7th Q At wiiat time, and under wiiat circumstances, 

did our army retire from the said mill? Was their re- 
treat precipitate, and disgraceful ? 

J. — The army retired at dusk of the evening of tlie 
30th, in the greatest order, leaving not a man, or article on 
the ground, and was encamped that night, in the village 
of Odietown, three miles from the mill. My corps co- 
vered the movement, and gave me a fair opportunity of 
seeing all the other corps move off. 

38?/t (I. — Was not the mortification general, among 
the officers, on account of the unsuccessful attempt upon 
La Cole mill ? 

./f. — I did not see that. 

Sdfh ^.— Were not you, and other officers, generally, 
opposed to a retreat ? And why w as the measure adopt- 
ed? 

J. — I was not opposed to a retreat, because I thought 
the attempt useless in the beginning; the measure was 
adopted, because the snow and ice were thawing uncom- 
monly fast, the road becoming impracticable, and every 
appearance of a violent rain. 

40th Q. — Were not our troops well disciplined ? What 
did they effect by the expedition? and what loss did they 
sustain. 

J. — The troops were in a tolerable state of discipline; 
they effected all they were commanded to do ; they lost, 
I understood, about one hundred and four or fourteen, 
killed and wounded. 

41st Q. — Do you know, or can you state, any other 
matter or thing, material to the prosecution, and relating 



ITi MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, to the last mentioned expedition ? if so, relate the sam* 
^' fully and particularly ? 
^.— No. 



Cross-examination on the part of Major-general Wil. 
kinson. 

1st Q. — Was the relative situation, of the squadrons, 
on thf^ lake, known at Sackett's Harbour, before Grene- 
ral Wilkinson arrived there, on the 4th October, from 
Fort George ? 

A. — No, they were not. 

2rf Q. — Can you state, at what time, Commodore 
Chauncey came into Sackett's Harbour, in the month of 
October ? 

ji. — r cannot precisely, but I believe, it was about the 
5th or 6th of the month. 

3{/ Q. — Would it, in your judgment, have been safe or 
prudent, for the troops at Sackett's Harbour, to have 
moved for Grenadier Island, before the relative situation 
of the squadrons was ascertained? 

j3. — No, it would not. 
. 4th Q. — What was the state of the weather and windal, 
between the time of Commodore Chauncey *s coming into 
the Haibour, and the 16th of October? 

Jl. — Very high, and squally. 

5th Q. — Would the objects of the expedition have been 
promoted, by tlie troops at Sackett's Harbour, moving 
to Grenadier Island, before those from Fort George, 
were ready to accompany them ? 

*?.— No. 

6th Q. — Were any troops embarked, and again de- 
barked, at Sackett's Harbour, on the 4th of October, 
and was it possible for sucli troops, to have moved to 
Grenadier Island, in the afternoon of that day, in open 
boats and batteaux ? 

jt, — I do not recollect. 

7th Q.— Will you state, when, and in what situation. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 475 

tlie troops from Sackett's Harbour, arrived at Grenadier CHAP. 
Island ? Whether any of the transports, were lost in the ^" 
passage? And whether any time was required, to repair 
the transports ? 

A. — Except the brigade of General Brown, the whole 
of tlje troops, were either wrecked, or driven on shore ; 
the storms were incessant and dreadful ; tlie consequence 
was, that they came to Grenadier Island, one after the 
other several days, from about the 20th of October, to 
the 25th. Several boats were totally destroyed, and some 
were repaired, without which we could not proceed. 

Sth Q. — Was tliere not a great defect of transport, and 
were not provisions, tools, implements, and public stores 
of various kinds, crowded into the boats of all descrip- 
tions, without regulation, or order? 

Ji. — The boats were much crow^dcd with provisions, 
stores, &c. ; there was a sufficient transport, but it was 
hastily distributed, and badly arranged. 

9th Q. — When did the rear of the army, arrive at 
French Creek j and how long did the army remain there, 
after its arrival, and what were the engagements of the 
officers and men, during their stay there ? 

Jl. — The rear of the army, arrived about the 3d of 
November, at French Creek ; and the army remained 
two days, making arrangements to move down the river, 
in order of battle. Flags distinguisiiing corps, were dis- 
tributed. 

lOf/i Q. — ^Will you state, whether the provisions were 
issued, to the troops of your regiment, by the contrac- 
tor's agent, or by the regimental quarter-master ? And 
whethei' any account was rendered, of the provisions con- 
sumed by your men, on their passage ? 

^.— The provisions were issued, by the regimental 
quarter-master, and not by tlie contractor j a particular 
account w as kept of the provisions, but none rendered to 
my knowledge. 

Wth Q. — Was the expedition delayed, by your being 
detached on the 7th November? and if so, will you state 
how long it was delayed ? 



176 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. j3. — It was not delayed, as I have already stated^ 
^ deeming; it ;i f)rudent and necessar-y precaution. 
D.tich- 12t/i ^. — What was the situation of the post, which 

mtni, a you was dotachcd to dislodge the enemy from, did it com- 
an!I iSis- "^'^"^ ^^^^ passage down the river, and was it so situated, 
saiy pre- that our boats might have been annoyed, by an enemy 

caution. ... , ,, -5 

stationed there r 

*3. — This question I have already answered, in the af- 
firmative. 

±3th ((.• — What number of the enemy were posted, at 
Matilda, and were tiiey dislodged by your movement? 
And what were the circumstances attending that affair? 

Jl. — I have related the circumstances of that move- 
ment; the garrison retreated; the militia and Indians, 
I have stated at 200, and the regulars, 100. 

14th ^. — Previous to your being detached, was it 
known that the militia, of Upper Canada, were in arms ? 
And what were the reasons, which induced the command- 
ing general to detach you ? 
Instruc- J. — It was reported, that the militia wei'e in arms, . 
General* ^"^ General Wilkinson gave me particular instructions, 
Wilkin- to act with caution, that if the enemy were too strong, to 
*°"* report to him without delay, and hazard nothing to a 

superior force. 

15th Q Do you conceive, that your being detached, 

on the 7th of November, was an unnecessary measure ? 

J. — I do not, as I have already stated. 

16th Q. — Previous to General Wilkinson's arrival, at 
Sackctt's Harbour, on the 4th October, were not some of 
the corps, and regiments of the army, in a broken state, 
and detached between that place and Fort George? 

A. — Yes, there were some regiments, in detached par- 
ties. 

17th Q. — Was it not necessary to consolidate these 
corps, and arrange them into brigades, before tlie expe- 
dition sailed? And was this done by General Wilkinson, 
after his arrival at Sackett's Harbour ? 

»d. — It was necessary : and it was done by General Wil- 
kinson, after his arrival. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 177 

ISth Q.—Ai what time, did the army arrive, at the CHAP, 
point of halt, above Pi-escott, on the 5th of November? ^^^^-.^i,,^ 
Was there any confusion among the boats, and was not 
the order, in which the flotilla was directed to move, 
broken, and were not the troops much fatigued? 

w3. — The order of march, was broken, and the corps 
somewhat confused; a short halt was necessary, to re- ' 
fresh the troops, and organize them. 

19f/;, q, — Under the circumstances, in which the army f^oi: time. 
arrived, at the point of lialt, below Morrisvillc, was prescott, 
there time for the necessary arrangements, to pass the i" safety, 
post of Prescott, during the night of the 5th in safety ? ^ight of 

,4._No. the oth. 

QOth Q. — Did yon see, any armed men of the enemy, 
on the Canada shore, on the 7th of November, previous 
to your being detached, or afterwards? Ami were any 
pieces of field artillery, observed on sijore that day ? 
Was it reported and understood, that tlie coast below, at 
the narrow passes, were lined with musketry and artille- 
ry? And were the observations made of the enemy, and 
the infnrniation received, of their being so posted, the rea- 
son of \ our being detached? 

A. — I did see officers and troops near Prescott, and 
signs of camps, near the woods in rear of Prescott. I 
did not see any piece of artillery, but heard them fire on 
General Wilkinson's boat, descending to Matilda. It 
was reported, that the militia of Uppin- Canada, were i 

out, and would disj)ute the narrow passes with us : this 
was the reason, of my being detac bed v/ith the elite 
corps; pieces of artilhry, were also reported io be on the 
way, to defend the passes, all which proved to be the 
fact. 

Qigt q. — Could the troops on shore, move down as 
fast ..s the boats floated with the current? And what riif- 
fer'uce would there be, in the progress of the troops on 
shore, and the boats? 

Ji. — Tiie troops on shore, could not move as rapidly 
as the boats. I think the boats, could go twice as fast 
as the troops. 

TOI*. III. Z 



178 



MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP. 

V. 



No unne- 
cessary 
delay at 
the White 
House. 



22d Q. — How long after the passage of Prcscott, before 
you were detached, and when, and where, did tlie flotilla 
come up with you ? 

Jl. — I was detached the next njorning, after the pas- 
sage of Prescott, and the flotilla joined us the next day, 
at Matilda, in good season. 

23d (I — Will you he pleased to say, whether there was 
any unnecessary delay, in tlie movement of IUq army, on 
the 7th of Novemher? 

»4. — I think there was not. 

24th Q — At what time, did the army move, on tlie 
Sth, and when did they arrive at the White House ? 

Jl. — I cannot tell at what time, the army moved, as I 
was detached, but it arrived, about 13 o'clock, at noon 
on the Sth. 

Q5th Q. — Were the dragoons crossed over at the White 
House, and how long did that operation take? And say 
whether in your judgment, thei^ was any unnecessary 
delay there? 

Jl. — Tiie dragoons were crossed at the White House, 
in a very shbrt time : how long exactly, I cannot pre- 
tend to say. I do not think, the delay was unnecessar}^ 

2,6th Q. — Did you accompany General Brown with the 
troops on shore, on the 9th? Did the enemy shew them- 
selves, in the course of that day, in our rear, and was 
not a man killed in the morning? Will you say, whether 
there was any unnecessary delay, in tlie movement of the 
cx])edition that day ? 

^. — I did accompany General Brown, on the 9th, the 
enemy shewed himself in the course of the day, in our 
rear, and fired on our pickets, and killed one man of the 
rifle corps. I did not think it worth while, to stop the 
army, on account of the Indians shewing themselves in 
our rear. 

QYth ^. — Did you accompany General Brown, on the 
10th? Did you find tlic enemy posted in, or near a block 
house? What was their strength? And was not the said 
liouse, situated on the bank of the river ? 

,q — I did accompany General Brown, on the 10th, t!ie 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 179 

militia had collected in force, in our front, amounting to chap. 



1500 men, and some Indians, under Lieutenant-colonel 
Dennis, of tlie regular army, near Hoop-pole Creek, 
where they had a block house, on the bank of the river. 

28th Q. — Did you know for what reasons. General 
Brown was detached in front, on the 10th? And was that 
detachment in your judgment, a prudent measure of pre- 
caution, to prevent the flotilla being attacked by the 
enemy, posted on the Long Saut, as it descended that 
rapid? 

w3. — I did not know the cause of the movement. I did 
not see the Long Saut, and therefore can say nothing, con- 
cerning that movement. 

Q9th Q. — Did General Wilkinson, during the campaign, 
of 1813, shew any want of zeal, or activity in the public 
service, or of regard to the public property, whicli his ill 
health permitted ? 

^.— -No. 

GOth ^. — Did you see any wanton waste, or destruc- 
tion of provisions and stores, by the officers and troops, 
during the expedition down the St. Lawrence? 

J. — None, except one barrel of beef, and some few 
biscuit. 

olst Q. — Did you hear General Wilkinson, or see him 
by word or deed, encourage such protiigacy, or do you 
believe him capable of it? 

^. — No, on the contrary, he has always evinced the 
greatest regard, for tlie public interest. 

o2d Q. — Were your orders, of the 7th of November, to 
scour the Canadian shore, and drive the enemy from Ma- 
tilda, written, or verbal? And if the former, will you an- 
nex a copy to your deposition ? 

^. — They were written^ and vertj explicit, hit I cannot 
now fnd them. 

SSd Q. — Was not the road from Champlain, to Smith's, 
(at whidi place, the path to La Cole Mill, parts from 
the main road to Montreal, at right angles) very bad, on 
the day of the movement of General Wilkinson into Ca- 
nada, and what is the distance? 



V. 



180 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. A. — The roads were very bad for artillery. The dis- 
^ tancp bt'twcen six and seven miles. 

34f/i Q. — Did not an eighteen pounder, prepared for 
that particular service, break down once, or more than 
once, in moving that distance ? 

A. — It did break down. 

55th Q. — What is the distance, and what the state of 
the road, from Smith's to the mill ? 

A. — The road to the mill, from Smith's, is narrow and 
crooked, the distance about three miles. 

S6th ^. — Was there not, at the time the troops, retir- 
ed, an eighteen po.nder, at least half a mile from the 
battery, planted against La Cole Mill, notwithstanding 
several hours labour to get it forward? 

^. — I do not recollect. 

S7i/i ^. — Were not the enemy's pickets, and advance 
parties, so posted, as to prevent the reconnoitring of the 
road, from Odletovvn to the mill, or of any of the other 
roads leading to the same post? or of the mill itself? or 
of the neighbouring defences, or of the locality of its 
vicinity? 

Ji. — I am of opinion, that the road might have been re- 
connoitred, notwithstanding the enemy was so posted, 
had a sufficient ])arty been sent to drive his troops in. 

38^/i Q. — Did not a great proportion, of the loss of 
that day, excepting the men who ft^ll at the guns, occur 
dui'ing tiie contests with the pickets and advance parties, 
of the enemy ? 

A. — Yes. 
~ 39f/i Q. — Was there any position, to which the guns 
might have been moved, which would have been equally 
advantageous, with that they occupied? 

A. — I cannot answer the question, as 1 had not an op- 
portunity of re onnoitring the ground. 

AOth Q. — What was the extent of cleared land about 
the mill. 

Ji. — I cannot say; it was grown up with brambles and 
smi'.li biush. 

41st ^. — What was the distance from the guns to the 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 181 

mill ? And was it not impossible, to increase that (lis- chap. 
tance, without losing sight of the object? 

A. — The land fell from the situation of the guns, so as 
to make it difficult to gain a position, except, on the ridge 
on which the guns stood. I do not think the guns, were 
over 140 yards from the mill. 

42d Q — How deep was the snow? How many hours 
would have been necessaiy, to erect furnaces and heat 
shot, proper for burning the roof of the mill ? And could 
the troops within have unroofed the mill, if necessary? 

Jl. — The snow was about knee deep. Shot might have 
been heated, in my opinion, in fifty minutes, with the ma- 
terials at hand. I do not think, tlie troops within the 
mill, would have dared to have shewn their heads, above 
the walls of the mill, when so large a force surrounded 
them, and so near. 

43d Q. — Did not your own brigade, which had been 
kept in the rear, cover the retreat of the troops, station- 
ed before the mill, retrogading by alternate battalions? 
And were you insulted by the enemy, or was any thing 
left on the ground? 

A. — My brigade covered the troops, in retiring j the 
movement was well executed; notliing was left on the 
ground; and the enemy did not follow, or even fire a 
shot. 

AAth Q. — What was your idea, of the withdrawal of the 
troops, from before tiie post of the enemy, on the 30th of 
March, 1814; was it hasty or disgraceful? Did it deeply 
wound the feelings of the officers, destroy the martial 
spirits of the troops, or expose the army to mortification 
or disgrace ? 

A. — I thought the move was judicious; it was neither Accbant 
hast\ nor disgraceful. The army was very cheerful, and ?^ ^^^ ''^j 

J '-' "^ *' treat, and 

did no way feel themselves disgraced. its effects 

^hth Q — Did it not rain, violently, on the night of the °"^Jlf 

30th of March? Were not a great portion of the troops, 

exposed to the elements? And was not the road from 

Oiiletown to La Cole Mill, impassable to artillery, the 

following day. 



183 MEMOIRS Bt 

CHAP. A, — It did r.iin very hard on the 30th, at night, and 
^' also the 31st; the roads were almost impassable, particu- 
larly so for artillery. 

A€)ih Q. — Was there more than one aperture, by which 
La Cole Mill could have been entered, and would it have 
been practicable, to have carried it by storm, without a 
greater loss of men, than the capture of the place was 
woi'th? 

X — I could not see the mill, well enough to determine, 
and as I before stated, I do not think it would have been 
wise to have stormed it. 

A7th Q. — Did you see General Wilkinson near La Cole 
Mill, and did he appear shy of the enemy's fire? 
Saw r.e- ^. — I saw General Wilkinson in the hottest of the fire, 
ktnson in particularly near the guns of the artillery, and he evinced 
the hot- an utter disregard of danger. 

48i/i Q. — If hot shot had been fired into the roof of La 
Cole Mill, and the enemy discovered inconvenience, or 
danger therefrom, could they not have knocked off the 
shingles in a few minutes, and continued the defence of 
the building? 

J. — I do not think, they would have made such an at- 
tempt, nor do 1 believe under our fire, it was practi- 
cable. 

idtli Q. — From the disposition, manifested by the ene- 
my that day, in engaging our advance parties, and 
from their proximity to their chief force, is it probable, 
they would have received a flag? And is it not absurd to 
suppose, they would, strongly posted as they were, have 
surrendered before they were attacked? 
Dis\>osi. ./?. — I do not believe, they would have obeyed a sum- 
eneinv «>ons to surrcjidcr J they evinced a different disposition, 
negatives by the determination, with which they disputed the seve- 

the idea, , ^-..g^pg 

of their ^^^ passes. 

receiving tOtJi Q. — Was it not, with the approbation of a coun- 

ti uce " ^^^ ^^ war, consisting of general officers, and officers 
comnianiiiiig regiments, and the heads of the staff, that 
the division under tiie command of General Wilkinson, 
entered Canada on the SOth of March ? 



GENERAJ^ WILKINSON. 188 

J. — There w as a council, summoned at head quarters, chap. 
on the 29th. Tlie council gave their opinion, t!)at the ^• 
position of La Cole Mill, should be reconnoitred, by an council of 
officer of engineers, supported hy the light troops ,• and war. 
if found practicable, that then the whole army, should 
move forward to suppoi't the attack. It was understood 
that tlie artillery, was to be properly secured, and cover- 
ed from the muskets of the enemy. 

51st Q. — Did not the officer, who led the advance, 
mislead the columns, two miles from the path to La Cole 
Mill ? Did they not pretend to a knowledge of the^ route, 
and did not tliis mistake, produce all the unnecessary de- 
lay, in the movements of that day? 

J}. — Yes. Delay im- 

52d ^.— How long have you served with General Wil- Ke'lnlt^" 
kinson? In what capacity? And what is your opinion of t^'^^e of 
him, as a man of honour, a gentleman, and a soldier? leading 

.1 — I have served with General Wilkinson, since the *^^ "'^■ 
disbandment of the army, under General Hamilton, in 
various capacities, as aid-de-camp, secretary. Lieute- 
nant, Captain, Major, Lieutenant-colonel, Colonel, and 
Brigadier. / ha-ce ahoaijs found him, desirous ofimprov- Opinion of 
ing the armtj, a man of honour, a gentleman and a soldier; willtia- 
always willing to do, what he expected from othets, as far son- 
as it respected personal exposure, personal honour, and indi- 
vidual rights. 

iy3d Q. — Did you see General Wilkinson intoxicated, 
during the campaign of 1813? 

J. — I did not. 

54th CI. — As far as your observation extends, have 
you not seen General Wilkinson, attentive to the sound 
principU's of subordination, and discipline? strictly re- 
gardful of the police, appearance, habits, manners, health 
and comfort of the troops ; and an enemy to drunken- 
ness ami debauchery ? 

^1. — I have observed in General Wilkinson, at all General 
times, a great anxiety to promote the discipline, police, son's at- 
habits, manners, and other essentials to the militarv clia- tcntior. u, 

iB'iraN. 



18* MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, racter ; to correct all petty offences, and an abhorrence 
^' of drunkenness and debauchery. 

, , 55th Q. — Did you see General Wilkinson under the 

and his ^ J , 

abhor- fire of the enemy, on tlic SOth of March, 1814 ; and did 
drunken- ''^ appear Cool, self possessed, and attentive to the pass- 
ness, and ing scencs ? State particulars, if you please ? 
cherv ^' — ^ '^^ ' * ^^^^ *'*^ General more exposed, than J 

General thought it was prudent; and if I have to blame him for 
Wilkin- any part of his conduct, it is in exposing himself too 
duct in much before the enemy, and particularly at the affair of 
tlie field. La Cole Mill; he there appeared above every personal 
consideration ; only watchful to see a liappy effect pro- 
duced, by the troops under his command, and the artillery 
in particular. 

ALEX. MACOMB. 



« The above answers to the foregoing interrogatories, 
and cross-interrogatories, sworn and subscribed to this 
7th day of March, 1815, before me, 

« WILLIAM SWEETLAND, 

«« Justice of the Peace ^ Master in Chancery.'^ 



DOCUMENTS, 



Selected from the Official Report of the Secretary of FTar. 
to Congress, dated. War Department, Jan. Qbth, 1814, 
admitted by consent, as prima facie evidence, and relied 
on in support of the prosecution. 

No. I. 

Project submitted to the President, by the Secretary of War, on the 
23d July, and communicated to General Wilkinson, on the 5th 
August, 1813. 

The time at which we have reason to expect, an as- 
cendency on Lake Ontario, has arrived. If our hopes 
on tliat head be fulfilled, though but for a short period. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 185 

we must avail ourselves of t!ie circumstance, to give to chap. 
the campaign, a new and increased activity. ^' 

For tliis purpose, our forces on the Ontario should be 
concentrated, because neither section of them, as they are 
now divided, is competent to any great object. 

The point of concentration is more doubtful : — 

1st. — If at Fort George, our utmost success, can but 
give us the command of the peninsula, which, if General 
Harrison succeeds against Maiden, will bo of diminished 
interest, both to us and the enemy : to us, because Mai- 
den will more completely cover our Avestern frontier, 
and controul the savages, tiian Fort George and Erie : to 
the enemy, because Maiden lost, our inroad upon the pe- 
ninsula,* will but have the effect of shortening, not of di- 
viding, the enemy's line of operations ^ in a word, suc- 
cess at this point, will not give to the campaign, a cha- 
racter of decisive advantage. 

2d. — If, on tlie other hand, we make Sackett's Har- 
bour the point of concentration, Kingston may become 
the object of our attack, which by the way, will but be 
returning to the original plan of campaign, prescribed to 
General Dearborn. 

This place is of much importance to the enemy, and 
will, no doubt, be defended by him with great obstinacy, 
and with all the resources, which can be safely diawn 
from other points. That it may be taken, by a joint ap- 
plication, of our naval and military means, is not liow- 
ever to be questioned. 

The enclosed diagram,! will show the number, and 
* 

* And yet the occupancy of York, would have effectually severed, 
the whole peninsula fronj Kingston, and Fort George, Erie and Mai- 
den must have fallen. 

■\ This diagram, for reasons best known to himself, was withheld from 
me, by the secretary of war, although I asked it of him ; but it is a fact, 
that when I reached Sackett's Harbour, in August, I could obtain no 
clear and satisfactory information, of the works or defences of the ene- 
my at Kingston ; but having determined on a favourite ])roject, a mini- 
ster, in his cabinet, at a thousand miles distance, finds no difficulty ia 
adapting the circumstances to his plans, and imposing on those who 
Ete only with his eyes : *' I think," said the minister to Eugene, " you 

VOL. HI. A a 



18(5 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, character of the enemy's defences. His batteries on No, 
1, cannot be sustained, b>it hy his fleet. These carried, 
he is open to a descent at Nos. 2, and 3. If he divides 
his f()r( e between both, we oppose one half of Ins strength 
with the whole of ours. If he c<nirentrates at No. 2, we 
seize No. 3, and command both the town and the ship- 
pin,!^. If he concentrates at No 3, we occupy No. 2, and 
with nearly the same residts. 

Cotemporary with this movement, anotlier may be 
made on the side of Lake Champlahi, indicating an in- 
tention of attacking Monfreal and its dependencies, and 
really attacking them, if, to save Kingston, these posts 
have been materially weakened. 

3d. — Another and different operation, to which our 
means are competent,* would be a movement from Sack- 
ett's Harbour, to Madrid on the St. Lawrence. At this 
place, tlie river may be most easily crossed. The ground 
opposite to it, is a narrow blufr,f skirted by the river on 
one side, and a swamp of great extent, and difficult pas- 
sage on the other. This gained and fortified, our fleet 
continuing to command the water line, from the head of 
tlie river to Ogdensburgh, and Lake St. Francis occu- 
pied with a few gun boats and barges, the army may 
march against Montreal, in concert with General Hamp- 
ton. Tlie only natural difficulty to the execution of this 
plan, would be presented by a branch of the Grand river, 
which must be crossed ; but at this season, though deep, 
it is believed to be fordable.:): 

Under tlie preceding supposition, it is respectfully sub- 
mitted, whether it will be most advisable, to make Sack- 
ett's Harbour the point of concentration, and leave to the 
commanding general an election^ (to be determined hy 

might have crossed theriver at this point," tracing the route, on a map, 
with his finger. "Yes, my Lord, if your finger had been a bridge." 

* Yet at this moment, nay, on the 23d of August, there was neither 
transport, nor other means, nor preparations to provide them, and tlie 
enemy had the superiority on the lake. 

t This posltio!! exists only in Secretary Armstrong's brain. 

i This is another misrepresentation, as that river is not " fordable." 

§ Here Secretary Armstrong, exhibits % masterly stroke of iu« 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 187 

circumstances,) between the two plans suggested undex' ch\p. 
the second and third heads. ^" 

JOHN ARMSTRONG. "-^"^'^^ 
Approved and adopted, 2,3d July, 1813. 

No. II. 

War Department, August 8, 1813. 
Sir, 

I have given to your observations, of the 6th instant, 
all the consideration they so justly merit. 

The main objedion to any plan, wliirii shall carry our ^ 

operations wide of Kingston anil westward of it, is, that 
in the ev« nt of its success, it leaves the strength,* of tlie 
enemy unbroken; it but wounds the tailf of the lion, and, 
of course, is not calculated to hasten the termination of 
the war, either by increasing our own vigour, or by di- 
minishing that of the enemy. Kingston is the great de- 
pot of his resources; and so long as he retains this, and 
keeps open his communication with the sea, he will not 
want the means, of multiplying his naval and other de- 

g-enuity. If the commanding' general shoiild fail, in either of the 
two points of attack, to which he was restrained, there would be 
plausible ground for the condemnation of his skill or conduct. If 
the failure had taken place at Knigston, it would have been urged, 
that he ought to have attacked Montreal ; and if the General had 
preferred Montreal for his attack, and failed, then he could be con- 
demned for not having taken Kingston ; or of he succeeded at either 
point, the secretary stood ready to claim the credit; but if the 
General had disapproved, of botii these propositions of the minister, 
and had made no movement, he might have been censured for inac- 
tion. — A movement was necessary, to cover the improvidence of the 
minister, and the defects of the war department, and he was present 
to enforce it. 

* Yet, the chief force of the enemy's regular troops, and their In- 
dians, and best militia, were west of Kingston ; but, to have taken and 
destroyed these, would not have diminished their vigour, nor increased 
our orm, risum tencatis ! 

f If the head be the front, and the tail the rear, surely the advanced 
division of the British Ibrces, in Upper Canada, could not be justly 
considered tlie taily of their line of dt-ftnce; but, it was a pretty me- 
taphor; — and was well adapted to the military capacity, of Mr. Madi- 
son and his cabinet. 



188 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, fences, and of reinforcing or renewing the war in the 
^" west. 

Kingston, therefore, as well on gronnds of policy, as 
of military principle, presents the Jirst, and great object of 
the campaign. 

There are two ways of approaching this; hy direct or 
indirect attack; hy breaking* down the enemy* s battalions, 
and forcing his works: or hy seizing and obstructing the 
line of his communication^ and thus drijing up the sources^ 
by which he is nourished anil maintained. 

Cil'cumstances must govern in choosing between these 
different modes. Tf^ere our assembled land and naval 
forces competent to the object, a direct attack would no 
douht, be the shorter, and better way; but if, on the con- 
trary, our strength be inferior,j or hardly equal to that of 
the enemy, the indirect attack must he preferred. These 
considerations, have suggested the third plan, to be found 
in my note of the 23d ultimo. To give execution to this, 
I would collect my force at the head of the St. Lawrence, 
make every demonstration of attacking Kingston, pro- 
ceed rapidly down the river, seize the northern bank at 
the village of Hamilton, leave a corps^to fortify and hold 
it, march upon Montreal with tlie main body, effect there 
a junction with Hampton,§ and take a position, which. 

* This is pleasant work, to a minister in his closet, and quite easy 
of execution, on paper; where we find neither ditches, nor ramparts, 
nor parapets, nor artillery, nor small arms. 

■j- How fallacious was this reasoning! if our combined naval and 
hmd forces, were not equal to the attack of Kingston, garrisoned by 
a detached division of the enemy, by what military reasoning can we 
be justified, after dividing our force, to pass that corps, leave it h\ 
our rear, and with our land force, only, to seek his main body; what 
always will happen, did take place, the corps at Kingston, unopposed 
bv the navy, and with abundant water and land transport, pursued in 
jjafety, harassed my rear, and retarded my movements. 

i Here again the secretary, witli his wonted facility, levels all ob- 
structions, supplies men and materials, and raises fortifications, with 
a dash of his pen. 

§ The secretary had previously given Hampton a separate com- 
mand. He was well aware of that ofiicer's personal hatred of me, 
jet, he talks of a junction at Montreal, as familiarly, as if Hampton 
had been subject to my orders, and there were no obstacles in the 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 189 

shall enable you to secure what you gain. On this plan, ch\p. 
the navy* would perform its part by occupying the mouth ^' 
of the river, and preventing a pursuit by water; by clear- 
ing the river of the armed boats of the enemy, by hold- 
ing with its own, the passage at Hamilton, and by giving 
support to that position. If the enemy pursues, it must 
be by land, without subsistence (excepting what he car- 
ries on his back) and without artillei'y. if he remains 
stationary, his situation must soon become even more se- 
rious, as the country in which he is, cannoi long subsist 
him. It will then but remain to him, to light his way to 
Quebec, to perish in the attempt, or to lay down his arms. 
After this exposition, it is unnecessary to add, that iu 
conducting the present campaign, you will make King- 
ston your primary objectf and that you will choose, (as 
circumstances may warrant) between a direct\ and indirect 
attack upon that post. 

I have the honour, he. 

JOHN ARMSTRONG. 
Major-general Wilkinson, comd'g. dist. JVT}. 9. 

way. He subsequently made a secret arrang'ement with Hampton, 
took him under his own command, and as we find from Colonel 
King's testimony, he released Hampton from my authority, until a 
junction should take place, which it was always in Hampton's power 
to prevent, which he did prevent, and would have prevented, at the 
expense of the most precious rights, and interests of his country. 

* Yet the navy did not cover my rear, or prevent 'd. pursuit, or clear 
the river of the armed boats of the enemy, or attempt to hold the pas- 
sage of the St. JjU-wrence at Hamilton. These, like all the other promises 
of the secretary, were delusive, or deceptive, and calculated to betray 
the man, who relied on his sincerity, his truth, and even his friendship. 

f It will be perceived, that by this restriction, all discretion was 
taken from me, and that by giving me an alternative, the secreta- 
ry, in ease of misfortune, had preserved to himself an avenue of 
retreat, and hud provided for me a ground of crimination. Mv 
confidence in his honour, and his personal attachment, beguiled 
my understanding. I was cheated, and have been ruined, by the 
artifices of Secretary Armstrong, seconded by the sinister bias of 
President Madison. If those gentlemen can derive consolation, from 
their triumph, and my depression, I wish them joy of it. My re- 
pose, is now beyond the reach of their frauds, their abuses, and ma- 
chinations. 



190 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. 

V No. III. 

Extract* from the Journal of the Secretary of War. 

4th October^ 1813. — General Wilkinson arrived at 
Sackett's Harbour, on this day from Fort George. 

He immediately visited the secretary of war, in com- 
pany with Generals Lewis and Brown, and in the pre- 
sence of these officers, remonstrat d freely and warmly 
aj^ainst making an attack on Kingston. Urging the 
propriety of passing that post, and of going directly to 
Montreal. 

The secretary of war, differed from General AVilkin- 
son in opinion, but thought his objections worthy of con- 
sideration, and proposed a meeting on the day following, 
for that purpose. 

The meeting took place, accordingly, wlien General 
AVilkinson presented the paper marked A. Tliat mark- 
ed B, was presented by the secretary, and the opinion 
with which it closed was adopted, as that which siioukl 
regulate the movements of the army. 

• A.t . 

Reasons for attacking Kingston, anterior to a descent 
upon Montreal. 

1st — We shall capture a garrison of 800 or 1000 menj 
and demolish a strong hold of the enemy. 

* I do most solemnly declare, in the eye of heaven, as I hope for 
happiness here or hereafter, that this pretended extract, is utterly de- 
void of truth, in every particidar, except in relation to the note A, 
which is authentic; and that the secretary of war, did also read a note 
to me, but whether that which is here presented, marked B, I cannot 
determine, as he put it in his pocket, together with that which I had 
submitted to him. 

•j- In this exposition, it is manifest, I reasoned ag^alnst my own judg- 
ment, or I should hardly have spoken so modestly, of the division un- 
der De Roitenbiirg, or so obscurely of the enemy's naval force, be- 
cause it was evident, both must have fallen into our hands, by the re- 
duction of Kingston; nor should I have converted Montreal iuto "t/is 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 194 

2d.— We shall destroy his naval depot, and magazines chap. 
of every species. 

3d. — We shall hy this operation, diminish his force, 
destroy his resources, and place the division at the head 
of the lake, under De Rottenburg, in great difficulty and 
distress: and 

4th We shall destroy every naval resource, and, of 

consequence, prevent the building, equipping, and even 
repairing a single vessel. 

Against this attack, it may be urged, 

Isf. — That the reduction of the place, may cost more 
time, than we calculate on. 

2d. — It may encumber us with wounded and sick, and 

3d. — It is possible, the British squadron, may as here- 
tofore, elude Commodore Chauncey, and find us before 
Kingst(m, or overtake us on the St. Lawrence. 

lu the first place, from the lateness of the season, the 
loss of a few days, may expose us to the autumnal rains, 
and jeopardize the chief object of the campaign. 

In the second place, our force will be diminished, and 
our n^ovements retardi d, and / 

In the third place, the chief object of the campaign, 
the capture of Montreal, will be utterly defeated, and our 
own army subjected to great difficulties, losses and perils. 

Submitted to the honourable the secretary of war. 

JAMES WILKINSON. 

B. 

1st. — The Niagara division will probably arrive here 
in a day or two. 

chief object of the campaign,^' when I had been peremptorily ordered 
to consider Kingston, " the first and gr eat object of the campaign,^' and 
JHontreal the object of " indirect attack " by agreement, there was to 
have been a consultation, of the general officers, though none took 
place, for what reason I know not to this day; and being diffident of 
my own judgment, I so qualified my exposition, as to place the sub. 
ject impartially before the council, but in terms to shew clearly, that 
after taking Kingston, we must abandon the idea of moving against 
Mcnitreal, and put the army into winter quarters, at Kingston ; and 
hence the deductions which foUov/ my premises " against the atlactJ' 



19^ MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. 2d. — The weather is yet good, and the lake navigable 
by scows and boats. 

3d. — The enemy's force,* is in the neigltboiirhood of 
Fort George, and liis fleet at the head of the lake. 

4th.^ — The garrison of Kingston does not exceed 800 
or 1000 men. 

5t!i. — If vve effect a landing at M<Pherson'sf farm, on 
the eastern side of Kingston, a point may be seized, 
which will command the town, the forts, and the har- 
bour ; and within seven hours after the landing is effect- 
ed, a sufficient battery may:]: be erected, and in operation. 

6th. — Nine and twelve pounders will be sufficient for 
burning block houses, &c. and may be dragged by the men. 

7th. — The time necessary to reduce the place, will not 
exceed a single day, and of course, will not materially 
interfere, on that account with our object below. 

8th. — The loss we may sustain, can only bo conjectur- 
ed. Judging from that at Fort George,§ where the ene- 
my were more numerous, it will be inconsiderable. 

9th. — The advantages of taking Kingston are two : 
you sever the line of communication, and you exi>el hira 
from his only secure harbour. 

* A part of the enemy's force, from the neighbourhood of Fort 
George, was pressing for Kingston, and Commodore Chauncey had 
actually captured, the flank companies of De Watteville's regiment, 
200 strong, on their return to that post, and in the vicinity of it. The 
enemy's fleet entered Kingston harbour, on the 7th of October. 

■j- Commodore Chauncey, when it was afterwards proposed to him, 
in a verbal communication, positively refused to cover such a landing, 
as he considered it too hazardous to his squadron, to bring it too, in 
a brisk current, immediately below the enemy. — See his letter of the 
9th October, 1313. 

4: It is a solemn fact, extraordinary as it may appear, that the se- 
cretary opposed my taking battering cannon, with the expedition, ob- 
serving, " that a six pounder, -was more effectual in Jiring houses -with 
hot shot, than an eighteen pounder" 

$ The positions were entirely dissimilar, and the garrison of King- 
ston, including the militia, was the strongest by one thousand. 

These notes are offered, merely to expose the secretary's contempt 
of facts, when they stand in the way of his projects; not to oppose his 
opinion, in favour of the attack on Kingston, which, by the lapse of 
the season, had become my favourite object. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 193 

The premises assumed under the 1st, 2d, 3d, 4th, and cetap. 
5th heads, may chan^^e, ami our conclusions with them. ^ 

Tlie* only safe derision therefore is, that if the British 
fleet shall not escape Commodore Chauncey, and get into 
Kingston harbour; if the garrison of that place be not 
largely reinforced; and if the weather be such as will 
allow us to navigate the lake securely, Kingston shall be 
our first object, otherwise, we shall go dij-ectly to Moir- 
treal. 

JOHN ARMSTRONG* 
SacketVs Harbour, 5th October, 1813. 

Testimony on the part of the prosecution closed. 



* Here we have another handsome specimen of the secretary's ar? 
tlfice ; after strongly indicating a determination to attack Kingston, 
he saddles his propositions with provisions, which forbade his attack, 
and left me no alternative, but the " direct attack" of Montreal. He 
knew that the enemy had uniformly escaped our squadron, as it hajv- 
pened in this case. He knew the arrival of the division, from Fort 
George, was uncertain, and that the enemy would have time to rein- 
force Kingston. He knew that the weather, at that season, was al- 
ways precarious, and the navigation insecure to onr small craft and 
spows 



¥01. lU. B b 



194 MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP. 
VI. 



CHAPTER VI. 



Testimomj of Inspector-general A. Y. Nicoll. — He receives 
an arrest for Major-general W. Hampton. — Does not serve 
it, — Lays it before Mr. Parker, chief clerk of the war 
office, and then hears no more of it. — Authenticates the 
abstract of General irilkinson's army, and explains au 
error in if. — Testimomj of Major-general Henry Dear- 
RORN. — Proves agreement with the British, respecting 
prisoners on parole. — His communication to the Secretartj 
of War, on the tatter's ordering paroled officers to do duty. 
— Order, in consequence, countermanded. — Testimony of 
Major Abraham Eustis. — His narrative of the expe- 
dition to French Creek. — Mtack of the flotilla, by the Bri- 
tish. — Precision of General JFilkinson^s 07'ders. — Wit- 
nesses admiration of the movement of the flotilla, in pass- 
ing Prescott.~-^J\''ecessity of landing the troops, to scour 
the Canada shore. — Utility of the IS pound cannon. — 
Boats lumbered with stores, and indifference of the quar- 
ter-master general, to their preservation. — Great coiu- 
plaint of want of transport. — His opinion of General Wil- 
kinson. — Cross-examination. — Five or six gun boats, on 
the 10th, so placed, as to flank the infantry. — Driven 
down, next morning, by the British gun boats. — Testimo- 
ny of Doctor EzEKiEL W. B uiL.«— /S/flife of General 
Wilkinson''s health, on his arrival at Utica. — His sickness 
increases. — Sick list at Fort George, amounts to upwards 
of 1200 men. — Satisfaction expressed by General Wil- 
kinson, after his conversation with Colonel King. — Gene- 
ral JVilkinson's boat particularly aimed at by the enemy, 
in passing Prescott. — General Wilkinson's habits. — 77- 
gour of mind, displayed by him, during sickness. — His 
application, to be removed from command, on account of 
ill health. — A'^ever saw General Wilkinson intoxicated, 
during the campaign. — His opinion of General Wilkinson. 



GENERAL WILTvINSON. 195 

— General Wilkinson incapable of taking, the necessary chap. 
quantity of stimuLuSy from the time of his leaving Fort ^ ^ 
George, to his arrival at Malone. — Testimony of Lieute- 
nant Jonathan Bell. — Proves General TFUkinson's 
anxiety f to obtain the copy of a letter of the Qath of Jlu- 
gust, to the quarter-master general. — Ineffectual search 
for the paper, -pretended by General Swarlwout, to be sent 
to General Wilkinson,. — Testimony of Matthew Ir- 
win, assistant commissary of purchases, — Receives or- 
ders from the Secretary of War, for shipping clothing.'— > 
Requisition from Doctor Ross, for blankets and clothing. 
— Only two-thirds of the blankets I'equired, issued by or- 
der of the Secretary of War. — Clothing left at Grenadier 
Island, afterwards delivered to the quarter-master gene- 
ral, at Saekeit's Harbour^ 

Troy, February 2Qth, 1815. 
All the witnesses, who liad attended, on the part of ^'^^™1."^" 

* tion of 

the prosecution, having been examined. Major-general witnesses 
Wilkinson commenced with tiie defence: and ""V^^.u 

' part of the 

prisoner. 

ABIMAEL Y. NICOLL, late inspector general of Testimo- 
the United States army, was sworn: of A. Y. 

♦ 1st Q. — Did you serve as inspector general, attached 
to the war office, and when did you leave that station ? 

^.— I didj and left it on the ISth or 20th of April 
last. 

2d Q. — Did you receive from Major-general Wilkin- 
son, while acting in that capacity, an arrest for Major- 
general Hampton, witli a request to serve the same ? 

The judge advocate objected to this, and the following 
question, as foreign to the case. 

The court overruled the objection, and the witness an- 
swered as follows : 

Ji. — I did receive it, at Washington, in the month of 
December, 1813, in the absence of the secretary of war. 

5d q. — Is not the paper now produced, a copy of that 
arrest 5* and will you say, whether it was served or not I 
* See Appendix, No. Y. 



war< 



196 MEMOIRS BY 

CH\P. »/9. — It is, as far as my recollection serves me : the ar- 

^' rest was not served :* I considered myself as acting under 

R ived ^''® orders of the war department, and laid it before Mr, 

an arrest Pasker, chief clerk, with a request, that it might be shewn 

general"^ to the President, for his instructions. I heard no more 

Hampton: of it afterwanJs. 

ed bu7 ^^^^ Q.' — ^^ ^^^ the paper now presented to you, mark- 
laid be- ed No. I. a return of the troops of the noi-thern frontier, 

fore Mr. 

Parker in i" the month of July, 1S13, within military district No, 

tlie ab- 9 p-j- 
Stance or 

the serre- »^' — This was made by me, and I presume was taken 
*^jy °^ from the latest returns, received from those posts. 

5th Q. — Did you furnish the late secretary of war, 
John Armstrong esq. the abstract, purporting to be <« an 
abstract of General Wilkinson's army, agreeably to the 
report of his adjutant general, under date of December 
1st, 1813, certified by you the 27th of January, 1814, 
and submitted by the said Jolin Armstrong esq. to the 
President, on the 25th of January, 1814,'* which said re- 
port was laid on the table of the House of Representa- 
tives, the 2d of February, 1814, and is now presented:!: to 
you in page 66 of that report? 

,4. — I recollect making such report, by order of the 
secretary of war. It included a return of all, who were 
Resent, sick, absent, and prisoners of war, on their re- 
turn. There is a mistake in the footing of it. 

6th ^. — Was the note, which follows the said printed 
report, referring to the two regiments of light dragoons, 
as making part of General Wilkinson's force, &c. fur- 
nislied by you, to the said secretary of war ? 

^. — I have no recollection of that note. 

* This arrest was submitted to the President of course, and the 
suppression of it proves, his fears of Hampton's wciilih and influence, 
his injustice to me, and his subversion of a radical principle of subor- 
dinat on and discipline. The arrest of General Hampton^ would have 
discomposed the "harmony of the cabinet," to which everything 
must yield ; nyy more, whatever might have been his own fate, he 
would have made expositions, which would have dishonoured the ad- 
■ ministration, i. e. if duplicity and deception be dishonoLitable. 
t See Appendix, No. VI. t See Appendix, No. VII, 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 107 

7th Q. — How long have you been acquainted with Ge- chap. 
neral Wilkinson, and what is your opinion of him, as a ^* 
man of honour, a gentleman, and a sohlier? 

A. — I have been acquainted with him since November, His opi- 
1806, and have the highest opinion of hira, as a man of General 
honour, a gentleman, and a soUlier. Wilkin- 

Sth Q. — From your observation^ was General Wilkin- 
son, subject to the brutal practice of intoxirati(»n,* or did 
he not discourage, such vicious and destructive habits, in 
both officers and men? 

Ji. — I never recollect seeing him intoxicated ; and 
have known him, on frequent occasions, discourage it in 
others. 

The witness, in his cross-examination by the judge ad- Cioss-exa- 
vocate, stated. 

That he cannot account for the error, in the printed 
report, before alluded to, unless by mistiike, possilily, of 
the printer, two regiments, the 9t!i, and 15tii, have been 
left out. From the returns of tlie above regiments, which 
he has lately seen, and which he presumes were omitted, 
it appears, that by adding their aggregate, to that of the 
regiments specified in the report, the total will be 8,143, 
as stated in the printed copy. 

HENRY DEARBORN, Major-general in the United Testimoy 

States army, and president of the court, being sworn, and M^'jor- 

examined as a witness, in behalf of General Wilkinson, general 
. ... , Dt-Hiborn. 

testihed: 

That on the ISth of November, 1812, at Whitehall, in Agree- 

the 9th military district, he entered into an agreement, the Bri- 

with an aid of Sir George Prevost, duly authorised, rela- ^'^'i' 'e- 

/. X 1 • • • 1 . • spectiiig' 

tive to prisoners oi war. in this it was particularly sti- pns,,)ieis 
pulated, " that prisoners on parole, of either party, should '^'^ P^»ol«'- 
jjerform no military service whatever.'* A copy of the 
agreement was transmitted, as he thinks, to the secreta- 
ry of state. 

Major-general Dearborn, in continuation, deposed, 
that in the latter part of March, or 1st of April, 1813, 
General Armstrong, then secretary of war, ordered cer- 



198 



MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP, tain paroled officers, to perform certain military duties. 

^^' Presuming he was not aware of the agreement before 

His com- nientioned, the witness informed him of it, and shortly 

munica- after, as he understood, the order was countermanded. 

tion to the 
secretary 

of war. THOMAS P. BALDWIN, was next sworn and exa- 

Testimo- Miin^d, as a witness, in behalf of General Wilkinson, as 

nyofTho- follows : 

Baldwin. ^^^ R.- — Were you engaged in the military service of 
the United States, in the campaign of 1813, and in what 
capacity ? 

^. — I was an assistant in the quarter-master general's 
department. 

2d Q — Did you shew to General Hampton, any order 
from the quarter-master general to you? Have you a copy 
of that order, and will you produce it? Did General 
Hampton give you back that order ; if not, what reason 
did he assign for detaining it? Detail his conversation 
with you, and when, and w here it took place ? 

»^. — I did, and the paper* produced, is a copy taken 
from recollection. I shewed it to General Hampton, who 
refused to return it, and observed, he might want to make 
use of it hereafter. This occurred at Spear's settlement, 
in Lower Canada. 

Owing to the indisposition of Major-general Wilkin- 
son, the court adjourned to the 21st instant, 10 o'clock, 
A.M. 

Troij, February Qlst, 1815. 
The court convened pursuant to adjournment. 



Testimo- 
ny of 
Maj or 
Abraham 
Eustis. 



ABRAHAM EUSTIS, Major of the regiment of light 
artillery, and Lieutenant-colonel by brevet, being sworn, 
was examined as a witness, in behalf of General Wilkin- 
son, as follows : 

1st Q. — Were you at Sackett's Harbour, in 1813, and 
in what capacity did you act? t| 



See Appendix, No. YIII. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. ' I99 

*3. — I arrived there, from Fort George, about the 1st chap. 



of September, and took command of two companies of 
light artillery, with the rank of major. 

2d ^. — What was the state of the weather, as to wind 
and other circumstances, from the *th of October, to the 
20th of the same month? 

^3. — I cannot particularly recollect dates. From the 
time of General Wilkinson's arrival, until I sailed for 
Grenadier Island, the weather was generally badj the 
greater part of tlie time a tempest. I was, in conse- 
quence of it, obliged to abandon my tent. 

3d ^. — Could you, during that period, with your 
loaded scows and batteaux, have made your voyage to 
Grenadier Island in safety ? 

d. — I cannot say positively. There might have been 
a day or two of fair weather. I think it very probable 
there was. But other causes prevented our sailing. 

4th Q. — Did you not at Sackett's Harbour, mount se- 
veral lieavy 18 pounders, on travelling carriages, in the 
scows ? And were not tliose eighteens brought from Fort 
George, at the time of General Wilkinson's arrival, or 
aftei'wards ? 

J. — I mounted two eighteens, which, to the best of my 
recollection, came from Fort George. Two others were 
taken from Fort Volimteer. These four we carried with 
us down tlie St. Lawrence. 

5th ^. — When you embarked for Grenadier Island, 
how many days provisions had you on hand? And will 
you please to describe, the circumstances which took 
place, during tlie voyage ? 

A. — The number of day's provisions, or the precise 
day of my departure, I am unable to state. I left Sack- 
ett's Harbour, about an hour before sunset, with eleven 
gun boats, and twelve scows, each containing artillery, 
one hundred rounds of ammunition, for each gun, with 
the men, and every necessary apparatus, for immediate 
use. On arriving off Point Peninsula, the wind fresh- 
ened, and during tlic night, owing to this, and the igno- 
rance of our pilots, one gun boat and live scows^ strand- 



VI. 



wo MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, ed on the point. Two of the scows were lost. My own 
^^- pilot ran the boat ashore twice; and owing to tlieir dis- 
persion, several days elapsed, before the whole of my 
command arrived at Grenadier Island. 

eth Q. — Do you recollect an attack upon our flotilla ; 
and our position at French Creek; and will you describe 
it? 

•3. — ^French Creek emptied into a small bay, contain- 
ing depth of water suflicient, to admit a vessel of four 
hundred tons, very near the shore. The boats of Gene- 
ral Brown's command, the gun boats and scows with the 
artillery, were drawn into the creek : the latter near its 
mouth. The artillery were encamped near the shore ; 
the infantry farther in the woods, but within supporting 
distance of the artillery. On the morning of the day the 
attack was made, Brigadier-general Porter, ordered me 
to land two eighteen pounders, on a flat rock, which 
formed a very advantageous position. The command of 
Attack on these was given to Captain M*Pherson. About half an 
3a ^by°the ^^^^ before sun-down, a heavy shot, and soon after, a 
enemy. second, passed directly over the tent, in which I was. 
On running out, I discovered two brigs, two schooners, 
and several gun boats, within a quarter of a mile. Cap- 
lain M*Pherson's men were, by this time, at their guns,' 
The enemy kept up a very brisk fire from their broad- 
sides, which was returned, with great effect, from our 
battery. Within the first half hour, a third eighteen 
pounder had been added, and the acti)r)n continued until 
dark, when the enemy retired down the river. 

In the course of the night, a furnace was constructed; 
by morning, red-hot shot were prepared; and when the 
enemy again appeared, one of their vessels was set on 
fire, three or four times, and we annoyed them so much, 
that their whole object, was to effect their escape, whicK 
they accomplished, through the north channel, to Kings- 
ton, about two hours before Commodore Chauncey's fleet 
hove in sight. 

7th ^ — If the eighteen pounders had been dismounted, 
and their carriages taken in pieces, what would have 



GENERAL WILKINSON. gOl 

been the consequences, before they could have been mount- chap. 
ed, and placed in battery? ^' 

J. — I have no doubt, the precautions taken by Briga- LaicMHi^ 
dier-general Porter, of landing the eighteen pounders, "^ifit 18 
saved the flotilla. It must have been destroyed, had not srved the 
those guns, been perfectly ready for service. The pieces flotilla. 
were remarkably well served, almost every shot taking 
effect. 

8ih ^.. — Will you be pleased to state to the court, what 
was the movement of the flotilla, from French Creek to 
the neighbourhood of Ogilensburgh ? 

»9. — They moved in very regular order, except one 
evening, when part of General Brown's division of boats, 
were in some confusion off" Morrisville. Our orders tcere Precision 
so precise, it was scarcely possible for anij derangement to ,.^| \y^i' 
occur. I was, however, in front, and could not observe kinson's 
any great distance, beyond my particular command, pro- 
bably not exceeding a third of the whole flotilla. 

Qih Q. — What were your observations, on the passage 
of the armament, by the British post at Prescott ? 

aS. — That of the flotilla, w^as the finest military move- His obser- 
ment, I ever witnessed : conducted with the greatest re- y^*^'*'"^ ^^ 

' ^ "J tile arma- 

giilarity, precision, and silence. The boats moved in ment pas- 
line, and nearly half had passed, before they were dis- ^^^"1 "^''" 
covered. Eight gun-boats undei* my command, were sta- 
tioned in the mid-cJiannel, opposite to Prescott, to pro- 
tect our left flank, should the enemy's gun-boats come 
out; and to cause the remainder of the flotilla, to pass be- 
tween my position and the Amciican shore. Four other 
gun-boats, under command of Captain Fanning, were 
ordered to bring up our rear. The squadron of guq- 
boats, at this time, consisted of twelve in number. Ot»c 
captured fi'om the enemy, having been added to my com- 
niami. 

10th ^.— Did you see General Wilkinson, on the 
evening of that day, the 6th, or morning of the 7lh, and 
was he intoxicated, or not ? 

Jl. — I do not recollect seeing him in the evening of tlie 
6th. Oji the morning of the 7th, about 10 or 11 o'clock, 
VOL. H. . C c 



202 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. I saw him two or tliree miles below Ogdensburi^h, he 
was not then intoxicated. 

llth Q. — On the 7th, did you observe the enemy, on 

tlie Canada shore, and did you not engage two pieces of 

light artillery, which were firing on the General's boat ? 

Perceives ^. — |n the morning of the 7th, I observed about two 

tish horse li'indrcd men, witli two pieces of artillery, on the Canada 

aiiiUery— shore. In the afternoon, the same pieces equipped as 

they fire I -1 I r- 

at Gene- horse artillery, I perceived, in full gallop, down the bank 

ral Wil- Qf t|,e piver: about ten men accompanied each erun, and 
kmson s i o 

scboouer. several shot were fired at General Wilkinson's schooner, 

and one or two at a gun-boat. To gain the advance of 
them, with the gunboats under my command, I had a 
race with them, about a mile, and was preparing to go 
on shore, when the enemy perceived. Major Forsyth 
with his corps, attempting to land, and thereupon re- 
treated. Several of our gun-boats, returned the enemy's 
fire. 

IQth Q. — If a body of troops, had not landed, to clear 
the coast of the river, could not the enemy's horse artil- 
lery, have kept pare with the flotilla ? And might not bo-r 
dies of infantry, strung along the left bank of the St, 
Lawrence, have greatly annoyed, and injured the troops 
in their descent of that river ? 

^. — Tliose pieces couhl have kept pace with us; and in-^ 
fantry on the bank, had there been any there, might have 
annoyed us \u many places. 

IStliQ. — From what you understand, of tlie current and 
adjacent shores of the river St. Lav^rence ; suppose a body 
of infantry, hanging on the rear of our army, with bat- 
teaux, for tlie transportation of their provision, and bag- 
gage; with gallics and gim-boats for their protection; 
Coidd they not have given our army battle, or refused it^ 
at discretion ? 

.5.— They could. 

14i/i q, — ,{[ under such circumstances, General "Wil- 
kinson had determined to retrogade, and destroy the co- 
lumn of the enemy in his rear; could they not have eUid- 



GENERAL WILKIIMSON. 20S 

ed Iiim, by getting into their batteaux, and crossing the chap. 
river; or by dispersing in the neiglibouring woods, and 
i*eturning to Pres( ott? 

Ji. — They could have avoided an action, if they chose. 

15th ^. — Wlien Captain Mulcaster, of the British 
navy, fell down the St. Lawrence, with his gun-hoats 
and gallies, on the 11th November, was it not witii a 
view to destroy our flotilla? 

.4."— I presume, that was his object. He had only one 
galley, but several gun-boats. 

I6th ^. — Might he not have succeeded, from the supe- utility of 
riority of his metal, over our gun barges, if a battery of p(,^„der 
eighteen pounders on tlie shore, had not opened upon him ? battery. 
And did not such battery, after a few shot, induce him to 
retire up the river? 

^. — Certainly. 

17 th ^. — Were not the dragoon horses, crossed in the 
artillery scows, at the narrows, near the White House ; 
and was not that the only place you saw, on the St. Law- 
rence river, where they could have been crossed in this 
manner, without much labour, inconvenience, and delay? 

Jl. — They were. It was the best place on the river, 
for their crossing, on account of its being narrow, and 
there being an eddy on each side, which proved of great 
assistance. 

ISth ^. — Do you know Iu)W the hospital stores, and 
medicines, were shipped and disposed of? Were they 
placed under the charge, of any particular person or 
jpevsons ? And did you hold any particular conversation, 
with the quarter-master-gcneral, or his deputy, on that 
subject ? 

A. — On taking charge of the gun-boats, at Sackett'st 
Harbour, I found them deeply laden, with hospital stores, 
uitrenching tools, and other quarter-masters' stores. I 
went to Major Brown, Deputy Quarter- master-general, 
remonstrated on the subject of those articles, being left 
in the boats, and told him, that in case of an attack, I 
should be under the necessity, of throwing them over- 



S04j 



MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP. 

vr. 

Boats 
much 
lumbered. 
Spe^iks to 
the Q M. 
Gen., who 
shews 
much in- 
diffe- 
rence. 



Great 
complaint 
of want of 
transport. 



board. The amount of his reply was, « that he had put 
them there, and having no other transportation, he could 
not take them out, or do any better. He was indifferent 
what became of them." Tlic stores were not under any 
particular person's charge^ and I know they were used 
by tlie men, as it was impossible to keep the g*uard sober. 
It was very difficult to row, or manage the boats, on ac- 
count of their being so much lumbered. 

19^/t ^. — Did you know of any wanton waste of pro- 
visions, or stores, by the troops, during the expedition 
down the St. Lawrence, in 1813? and did General Wil- 
kinson, by word, or deed, countenance, or encourage 
such wanton abuse ? 

J], — I know of none, but what I last stated. I did all 
in my power to prevent that, but found it impossible. 
Several punishments were inflicted on the men, but with- 
out effect. The boats had no decks, and tlie stores in 
consequence, were exposed under the feet of the men. 
At Grenadier Island, where the waste principally occur- 
red, I mentioned it to Major Brown, and I think, to Ge- 
neral Swartwout. The reply was, they had no transpor- 
tation — there xvas no remedy for it, and the thing must 
take its course. 

I never knew General Wilkinson, to countenance such 
waste, or abuse. 

20th q. — Was there not a general complaint for want 
of transport? Were not quarter-masters' tools, stores, 
and implements, ammunition and ordnance stores, camp 
equipage, the medicines and stores of the hospital depart- 
ment, contractors stores and provisions, crowded and 
huddled together, indiscriminately, in the boats of the 
flotilla, without being committed to the care of particular 
persons ? 

J. — There was great complaint, for want of transport. 
I know notliing of tlie lading of any boats, except those 
under my command. They were in the condition I have 
already desc^ribed. The scows had only the artillery, 
and their equipments. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. S05 

2tst Q, — From the circumstances of the season, the de- chap. 

Vf 

feet of transport, the ill health of the troops, the unex- 
pected pressure of the enemy, upon our rear, and the re- 
sistance in our front, will you be pleased to tell the court, 
whether, in your judgment, as a military officer, there 
was any unnecessary delay, between Sackett's Harbour 
and Barnhart's ? 

Jl. — I knew of none. 

22rf q. — From your knowledge of General Wilkinson's 
character and conduct, do you believe him capable, of 
neglect of duty, or violation of the trust of his country ? 

d. — I do not. 

2,5d Q. — In every instance which has fallen under your Evidence 
observation, has he not by his actions, and his orders, neral wil- 
evinced a zealous regard for the honour of the army, and J^i^son's 
the interests of the nation ? 

*9. — Certainly. 

Q4th Q.. — From your observations, on the character 
and conduct of General Wilkinson, what is your opi- 
nion of him, as a man of honour, a gentleman^ and a 
soldier ? 

^. — Since I have known him, I have always had the His opl- 
highest confidence in him, as a man of honour, a gentle- Q°^g°[l 
man, and a soldier. Wilkin- 

25th q. — Is he subject to the beastly habit of intoxi- ^°"* 
cation ? Have you ever seen him in that disgraceful 
condition ? 

^. — I never saw him drunk; but I am not sufficiently 
acquainted with liim, to know what are his habits. 

26th Q. — Were the artillery corps embarked, and again 
disembarked, at Grenadier Island ? And if so, what was 
the cause of such disembarkation ? 

^. — Not to my knowledge. 

Z7th Q. — Who commanded the artillery coi'ps at that 
time ? 

.4.T— I commanded all who acted as artillerists. 

28th Q. — Did the men of the artillery regiment, under 
Colonel Macomb, act as artillerists, or infantry, at that 
time ? 



m& MEMOIRS BT 

CHAP. j3. — As infantry. 

VI. 

Cross-e.va. ^^''^ direct examination of Lieutenant-colonel Eustis, 
mimitioii. being ended, he was cross-examined, on the part of the 
prosecution j and in reply to a question, as to the state 
of the weather at Sackett's Harbour, between the 4th and 
9th of October, deposed, that the day after General Wil- 
kinson's arrival, it rained, and, accordin,^ to his impres- 
sion, the wind was high. He also stated, that he reached 
French Creek, with his command, four or five days be- 
fore General Wilkinson. The afternoon of his departure 
from Grenadier Island, was boisterous ; the night was the 
same 5 and owing to the weather and bad pilots, several 
scows, and gun boats, with a large ordnance schooner, 
having on board Captain Archer's company, got on a 
reef off Carleton Island. The schooner did not get off" 
until noon the day following, when an hundred men, de- 
spatched by General (then Colonel) Bissell, assisted him 
in lightening her. On the third day of his passage, they 
landed at French Creek. What time. Colonel Uphara 
reached there, he does not recollect. He knows of no 
provisions having been left on shore. The witness add- 
ed, that it is seven years since he was first introduced to 
General Wilkinson, at Washington. 

Questions hy the Court, 

1st Q. — What was the position of the gun boats, on the 
evening of the 10th, when the enemy appeared? Were 
they so arranged, as to flank the infantry, posted at the 
first ravine? 

J. — Four or six, were so posted, I think by order of 
General Lewis. The next morning, they were driven 
down to the point, below the infantry, by Captain Mul- 
c aster. 

We first discovered the British gun boats and ga|ley, 
on the 10th of November, I think, about noon. 

izd Q- — By whose orders, were th» artillery horses sent 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 207 

down, from the White House, with General Brown's com- chap. 

mand? sJ^X^ 

Ji. — At Sackett's Harbour, on applying for the artil- 
lery horses, the quarter-master general directed, that they 
should be left in the stables, as he had provided persons 
to take charge of them. Owing to this, they did not ac- 
company me. Afterwards, at the White House, about 
two hundred, out of two hundred and fifty, the number 
collected at Sackett's Harbour, were brought up, the re- 
mainder had strayed, or were lost on the road. They 
were then in the charge of Comfort Tyler, assisted by a 
man named Farnum, who came with the first drove. The 
former required me to receive them, which I declined. I 
ferried them across to the Canada side, and know not 
what became of the drove afterwards. A considerable 
number were rode by the officers, under General Brown's 
command. I, liowever, received at the White House, and 
took possession of, four guns, with their caissons, and four 
horses to each gun. These were assigned to Captain 
M«Pherson, who first attached himself to the elite, under 
Colonel Macomb, and with them, joined the detachment, 
under General Brown. 

EZEKIEL W. BULL, hospital surgeon in the United Testimo- 
btates army, was next sworn, as a witness, for the de- tor e. w. 
fence, and examined as follows : i^"^'- 

1st Q. — Did you accompany General Wilkinson, in the 
campaign of 1813, from the city of Washington, and in 
what capacity ? 

^. — 1 did; and had the medical charge of the sick and 
wounded, of the general staff. 

Qd ^. — At what time did you reach Sackett's Harbour ? state of 
And was not General Wilkinson ill on the road ? Sr^f^^^ 

A, — We arrived on the 20tli of August. General Wil- son's 
kinson was ill at Utica, and there bled : but notwitlistand- '''^'^'''. "7 

' nis arrival 

mg, he proceeded, the next day, on his journey. at Utica. 

Sd q. — On what day did General Wilkinson lcav« 



208 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP Sacketf's Harbour for Fort George ? Did you accompa- 
ny him on hi.^ voyage; and at what time, did he arrive 
at Niagara ? 

^.— He left it, either the last of August, or 1st of Sep- 
tember, and arrived at Niagara, on the 6th of Septem- 
ber. I sailed in a schooner, at the same time with Gene- 
ral Wilkinson, but during the voyage, he preceded me; 
i — started from Sandy Creek to Oswego, in his barge, 
after sun-down, and afterwards went by land from Ge- 
nesee river to Niagara. I performed the voyage in the 
schooner, and, on my arrival, found General Wilkinson 
ill in bed. 

4th Q.— What was the number of sick at Fort George, 
and what were the means adopted by General Wilkinson, 
respecting them ? 
Numberof j^ — There were upwards of twelve hundred sick. Ge- 
Fort neral Wilkinson directed an inspection; appointed Colo- 

u^wnfd' "®^ Scott, Major Johnson, and myself to that dut} ; and 
of 1200. instructed us, as well to ascertain tl»eir number, diseases, 
and general condition, as to note those, who, in a week 
or ten days, would not require attendance. This was 
with a view, of removing every man, who could be use- 
ful in the expedition. 

The hospital under Doctor Mann, was in excellent or- 
der, as were some regimental ones; but the last were ge- 
nerally badly attended. 

Bth Q. — What was the state of transport for the troops 
at Fort George, when General Wilkinson arrived? 
Were not boats expected from the quarter-master ge- 
neral ? And was not great solicitude, excited by their 
delay ? 

A. — When I arrived, there were few transports of any 
kind, in the river, and General Wilkinson frequently ex- 
pressed solicitude and anxiety, on account of their not 
arriving? 

6th Q. — What was the state of the wind, generally, in 
the month of September, at Fort George ? 

w9. — Boisterous and high. In the early part of the 
month, there was some tolerable weather. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 209 

7th Q. — Was there a day's unnecessary delay there, CH\P. 
after the hoats were ready to rereive the troops ; and did 
not General Wilkinson, frequently express his sorrow, 
and great anxiety, at the waste of the season 1 

A. — I cannot think, there was any unnecessary delay. 
The tents were struck, and the troops marched down to 
the river, for embarkation, but were f<ir several days de- 
tained, in this situation, on account of the weather. Ge- 
neral Wilkinson, as well as the other officers, regretted 
the waste of the season. 

Sth ^. — When did you leave Niagara, and M'hat ap- 
peared to be the situation of the flotilla, vvhich had sailed 
the day before? What was General Wilkinson's conduct 
on that day ? 

Jl — I cannot recollect the particular day; but several 
of the flotilla, which had staited, the day preceding my 
departure, were stranded on the beach. General Wil- 
kinson was attentive to getting the boats repaired, an ! in 
motion; sent Lieutenant Becket to ascertain the damage 
done, and went personally on bciard Commodore Chaun- 
cey's sliip, to concert measures for the security of their 
voyage, 

9th ^. — When did General Wilkinson arrive at Sack- 
ett's Harbour, and what was the state of his health, at 
that time ? 

Ji. — He arrived on the 4th of October ; his health was The state 
not amended, and he was so weak, as to require support vvilkia- 
to his quarters ; two oi^three hours after, he was seized son's 
Tvith a violent ague, 

±Qth q. — When did General Wilkinson leave Sackett's 
Harbour, for Grenadier Island ? 

J. — About the 20th of October. 

nth Q. — What was the state of the weather in the in- 
terval ? 

-A. — Very stormy, with occasional moderate intervals j 
but these of short continuance, subject to very suddea 
changes. 

lQ.th q. — What was the state of his health, during thie 
same period ? 

vol. IH. D d 



mo MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. Jl. — He continued ill. Doctor Tilton and I attended 
^'' hinj; but tlie usual remedies, which benefitted others, 
seemed to have no effect upon him. 

loth ^. — Did you accompany General Wilkinson down 
the St. Lawrence, on the morning of the 6th of Novem- 
ber, 1813, to reconnoitre Prescott; and did yon, wliilst 
returning, meet General Lewis and Colonel King ? Will 
you state what followed ? 

J. — 1 did. We all went ashore. General Wilkinson, 
with those two gentlemen, sat down on a log ; and pre- 
suming it was with a view, to confidential conversation, 
I did not join it. 
Satisfac- "On General Wilkinson's return to the boat, he in- 
Geneial f<>i™ed me, he felt great_re lief, from the conversation 
Wilkin- with Colonel King, as he was now certain, of a junction 
his con. with General Hampton, at St. Regis, or somewhere in 
veisation t^^t neighbourhood." 

with Colo- 
nel K.ng. 

Objection The admission of the latter part of the witness's an- 
of the swer, was objected to by the judge advocate on the plea, 
advocate, t'^'^* ^^ some of the particulars, of that conversation, in 
which Colonel King was a party, on the 6th of Novem- 
ber, formed one of the specifications against General 
Wilkinson; and as there was already some variance in 
the evidence, before tlie court on tliis point. Neither Ge- 
neral Wilkinson's statement of wliat occurred, nor the 
impressions, he is said to have entertained, from the re- 
sult of the conference, can be legal evidence. All hearsay 
is inadmissible, and especially, the most objectionable 
species of it, the declarations of a party in his own fa- 
vour. 

See M^J^ally, on Evidence, page 361, and the opinion 
of Chief Baron Eyre, page 378, to tlie same effect. 
Overruled The court Considered the testimony admissible. 

by the 

±4th Q. — Was there a meeting of the general officers, 
or some of them, on board of General Wilkinson's schoo- 
ner, in the afternoon of the 6th of November, and was 
General Svvartwout of tlie number ? 



cowt. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 211 

^f. — There was, and I think. General Swartwout at- chap. 

tendetl. \.<^-v-s^ 

loth ^. — Were you present on board of General Wil- 
kinson's boat, wiion Colonels (now Generals) Scott and 
Gaines arrived there ? And did not General \\ ilkinson, 
appear rejoiced to see tliem ? 

Ji. — 1 was. Tiiere appeared great cordiality on all 
sides. 

IGth Q. — Did you observe, any marks of intoxication, 
about General Wilkinson, at that time ? 

A. — I did not. He had an accession of fever at that 
time. 

17th ^. — Did you see General Wilkinson afterwards, 
and had you any conversation with him ? If so, be pleas- 
ed to state it? Did you see the General descend into his 
barge, and was he intoxicated then ? 

J, — I did see l»im, and recollet t, I remonstrated, seve- 
ral times, against his going down the river( in an open 
boat, and exjjosing himself to the night air. I consider- 
ed, that he did not pay sufficient attention, to my repre- 
sentations. Aft rwards, 1 pressed him to drink brandy 
toddy, and to take some in the boat with him ; the last . 
he refused doing. He was, at tiiis time, unable to drink 
wine, because his stomach rejected it. I observed, wiien 
General Wilkinson went into his barge, he was perfectly 
collected, and took the helm as soon as he entered it. 

ISth ^. — Did you see General Wilkinson next morn- 
ing, and what was his situation ? Did he appear intoxi- 
cated ? 

A. — I saw him next morning; ti)und he had not receiv- 
ed as much injury, as I expected. He was feeble, though 
perfecthj sober. 

19th Q. — Was the General's boat fired on, by the ene- 
my, in descending the first rapid, below Prescott? Will 
you state the particulars ? 

A.- — There were several corps of militia, on the enet 
ray's side, who on seeing General Wilkinson's boat, 
moved two pieces of artillery, along witli great celerity, 
and placed them in battery, on the bank. This being 



313 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, the leadin.^ boat, was particularly aimed at: vsome shot 

^^ cut tin ri,^".y,in.!i^, others went near the boat and (lirecrly 

^ ,|. ^ over it: so that it was difhcult to keep tbe pilot at ihe 

W ilk.in- h«liu. 

particu-^ 20^/?. Q. — Did you make any observations on tbe h(tspi- 

Iv aimed tal di pHt'tinent, diirin.^' tbe ex|)edition? and ran you say 

enemy. ^" wh.ti manner, tbe stores and medicines, were disposed 

of, and transported ? 
Di- Ross ^, — Dortor Ross had the medical sup«^rintendence of 

CO'li- 

pUiisof tbe expedititm. He ofttn complained to me, tliat lor 
want of want of separate transports, be could not command bis 

transport, ' * 

and drffi. Stores ; that be neitber knew where to find, or bow to 

cuhy of distribute them. 

finding' 

iospital 2Ui Q. — Do you know, whether those arti les were 
itoreg. placed in tbe charge, of any particular person ? Or w!ie- 
tber the oftu ers of tbe quarter-master's department, knew 
where they could be found ? 

J. — I do not know, that any person bad tliem in 
tharge. Major Brown, tbe deputy quarter-master ge- 
neral, who was himself ill, and under my care, required 
tbe use of some of those articles, but could not direct me 
where to find them. 

22d Q.- — Did you see any wanton waste, or des- 
truction of provisions, as you descended tbe St, Law- 
rence ? 

A. — ^1 did not think, the stores were well husbanded^ 
but saw no wanton waste. 

23d Q. — Do you know the reason, why General Brow n 
was detached to tiie fi'ont, on tbe Canada side of tbe St. 
Lawrence, on tbe 9th and lOtli November? 

J. — It w Hs to clear tbe bauk of the river, of any ene- 
my that might interrupt, the passage of the flotilla. 

2.4th Q. — Do you know the causes of the halt, of the 
flotilla, near the bead of the Long Saut, the lOtb, and on 
the morning of tbe llfh Novemher? 

Jl. — I understood it was waiting a courier from Gene- 
ral Blown. General Wilkinson expressed great sur- 
prise, that one bad not been sent earlier. 

2Bth Q. — How long have you been acquainted, with 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 213 

General Wilkinson ? Do you know his habits of life, and chap. 
is he subject to intemperance ? y^^^-^r^^^ 

A. — I have been a(quainted with him, from early ^.^.^^j.^j 

youth. His habits of life, are social and convivial, but Wiikin- 
, . , i son's ha- 

by no means intemperate. {^-^g 

26fA Q. — During the sickness and sufferini^s of Gene- 
ral Wilkinson, in the campai,^n of 1813, did he yield to 
the pressure of affliction? And what was his conduct, in 
regard to the several branches of the service, and the 
high trust reposed in him ? 

A, — His mind did not bend with his bodily afflictions, The vi- 
but preserved its usual vigour. He was capable of great "^^i^d dis. 
intellectual labour, and couhl pursue a train of intestiga- piuyed by 
tion, without much lassitude or fatigue. He was unrc- wjikinson 
mitting in his attention, to the duties of his office; often during' his 
dictating orders and correspondence, when I thought he 
ought to have been quiet in his bed. 

9.7tJi Q. — Did you, at Sackett's Harbour, in the month 
of August, 1813, copy an order from Major-general Wil- 
kinson, to Brigadier-general Swartwout, directing him 
to provide tools, implements, and materials of v^arious 
kinds, with a quantity of oats, for the pending expe- 
dition? 

Ji. — I copied such a letter, but have no recollection, of 
the number of tools and imjdements, or the quantity of 
oats required. Nor do I think their destination, was 
mentioned in the letter. 

28i/t Q Were not several applications made to the 

secretary of war, during the two months of November 
and December, by General Wilkinson and yourself, for 
his removal from the command of the northern army, in 
consequence of his extreme ill healtli? and do you know, 
whether any answer was received, to those applica- ![!f."ff^'^ 

tions ? son's ap- 

Ji. — I made two applications, on that subject, with the {'o'j'j^e'g" 
privity, and once by the direction, of General Wilkinson, crcary of 
but received no answer. General Wilkinson made an ^'^^'' ^° }^ 

removed 

application, to the saa»e effect, and shewed me his letter, from the 
1 am well persuaded no answer was returned, as I should of '[i,e'^" 



S14 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, have retired with liim; inasmuch as I was General Wil- 
^^' kinsoji's attending physician. 
northern ^^^^'' ^' — Under the solemn oath you have taken, will 
army, on yoii Say to this court, whether you saw General Wilkin- 
ru*heaUh° ^'^" intoxicated during the campaign of 1813, and whe- 
ther the regulations of his family, in the field, were not 
opposed to intemperance ? 
Never saw ^^ — j jjj^yg never seen him intoxicated, but gay and 

General ' ® -^ 

Wilkinson lively. Tiie latter part of the campaign, he could not 
iBtoxicat- j-^^Q stimulus enouerh, to promote his convalescence ; or 

ed during ox 

the cam- his health would have been earlier restored. I recollect 
paign. ulsfi^ that a rule was made, enjoining very strict sobriety, 
upon the members of General Wilkinson's family, against 
which, I remonstrated and revolted. 

30th Q. — After you met General Wilkinson, at Niaga- 
ra, were you separated from him a single day, or night, 
during the campaign? 

ji. — With the exception of the night we passed Pres- 
cott, I was not. 

31s/ Q — Did you see General Wilkinson on the 11th 
of November, 1813, and what was his condition that 
day? 

^. — He was confined to his bed, very feeble; regretted 
his inglorious, and almost helpless, situation; only begged 
for health sufficient to mount his horse and die at the 
head of his comrades. He had, the day before, resigned 
the command to Major-general Lewis. I called on the 
latter, in the morning of the 11th, and on my return in- 
formed General Wilkinson, he was quite as ill as him- 
self. I think General Wilkinson did not afterwards, re- 
sume the formal command on that day. 

32rf Q. — Had you any conversation, with the late se- 
cretary of war, in the winter of 1814, respecting the in- 
subordination of General Wilkinson ? And if so, will you 
state what it was ? 

Objection The judge advocate objected to the question, alleging 
judge ad- that no conversation or admission of the late secretary, 
vocate. unless accompanied with the formality of an order, could 



son. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 215 

affect the merits of the case ; or absolve a party from chap. 
what is itself reprehensible; they ought therefore not to ^** 
be allowed, to have an influence in this trial, in which the 
government, is the ostensible prosecutor. 

The court permitted the question to be put, but on 
hearing the reply, deemed it irrelevant. 

55d Q. — As a man of honour, a soldier and a gentle- His opi- 
man, what is your opinion of General Wilkinson ? General 

ji. — I have the highest opinion of him in all those ca- wilkia- 
pacities, or I should not have continued so long in his 
family. 

The court adjourned to Wednesday, the 22d February, 
1815, at 10 o'clock, A. M. 

Troy^ February Q2df 1815. 

The court convened pursuant to adjournment. 

The president having received an invitation from the 
citizens t)f Troy, to unite with them in the double pur- 
pose, of commemorating a day dear to us as Americans; 
and of celebrating the return of peace to our country; 
the court, to evince its sympathy in the general feelings, 
adjourned to Thursday, the £3d February, 1815, at 10 
o'clock, A. M. 

Troy, February Q5d, 1815. 

The court convened pursuant to adjournment. 
The examination of Doctor Bull, was resumed as 
follows : 

5Uh Q. — Do you recollect a report of Doctor Ross, 
the superintendent of the hospitals, on the expedition, 
whi; h was handed to General W^ilkinson, at M alone, 
under date of the 8th of December, 1814 ? And is that re- 
port now presented to you ?* 

* See Appendix, No. VIH. 



gl6 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. A. — 1 do ; but do not know if I was present when it 

VI. 1 

was re< lived. 

35^A Q. — Did this report produce any violent passion, 
adverse to Doctor Ross ; or what was the effect it pro- 
duced ? 

A.—\i produced no violent passion. I never heard 
Gemral Wilkinson express himsilf, hostile to Doctor 
Ross, 01 manifest irritation towards him. He made no 
exception to the report, which he would have done to me, 
had it caused irritation. 

S6i/i Q. — Wiien General Wilkinson complained to you, 
at Sackett's Harhour, of his feebleness, ill healtli and in- 
capacity to command, what was your advice? 

A. — I encouraged him to perseverance, under an idea, 
tliat his Iiealth would improve, and be restored. 

Zlth Q. — Is not the copy of the letter, now presented 
to you, in your manuscript ; and was not the original 
transmitted to the secretary of war? 

A. — It is ; and I believe was transmitted to the secre- 
tary. 

The judge advocate opposed the admission of the let- 
ter, on the grounds : 

1 st. — Of its illegality ; it being nothing more than Ge- 
neral Wilkinson's statement, offered to be introduced in 
his own behalf. 

2d. — Because it has no relation to the charges. 

The court reserved the question of its admissibility. 

The witness was then cross-examined, by the judge 
advocate, as follows : 

±st Q — Was an inspection had, of the sick at Fort 
George, pursuant to General Wilkinson's directions, and 
a report in consequence made to him? 

^. — An inspection was had, and the report drawn up 
by General Scott. 

2rf ^. — Were any measures taken by General Wilkin- 
son, at Fort George, to hasten the arrival of transport, 
and what were thev? 



GENERAL A\1LKINS0N. @1^ 

A, — No further than by writing to tlie quarter-master CHAP, 
general, and by urging Major Camp, assistant deputy ^'' 
quarter-master general. 

3d Q. — Do you recollect, whether part of the expedi- 
tion from Fort George, had embarked the latte<- part of 
September, and after proceeding some miles, were recall- 
ed by General Wilkinson, in consequence of an expected 
attack ? 

Ji.—\ do. 

^th ^. — How were you informed of the object, of Ge- 
Beral Wilkinson's visit to Commodore Chauncey's ship? 
Did io«' accompan} him? 

A. — I did not accompany him ; butlearntit from himself. 

Zth Q. — Was General Wilkinson in the least degree, 
less qualified to command, from the effect of any thing he 
had drank, on the evening of the 6th of November ? 

A. — I do not think he was. What he had taken was 
absolutely necessary ; or 1 do not think he would have 
been able to move at all. 

6f/i Q. — How long was you in company with him that 
evening, and at what hour did you leave him? 

A. — It was bef ire dark. 

7ih Q. — At what hour next morning did you see him, 
and where ? 

A. — It was between 8 and 9 o'clock, below Ogdens- 
burgh. 

%th Q. — Do you recollect, at any time, during the even- 
ing of the 6tli, or morning of the 7tli, taking a bottle 
from General Wilkinson, and observing, he had stimulus 
enough ? 

A. — JV*o, Sir, 1 never did siich a thing. 

^th ^. — You say you copied a letter, from General 
Wilkinson, to General Swartwout, making a requisition 
for oats and other articles. Can you mention its date, 
or say when, and by whom, it was delivered to General- 
Swartwout ? 

A. — I copied such a letter in the month of August, at 
Sackett's Harbour; but by whom it was delivered, or 
whether it was ever delivered, I know not. 
VOL. m. £ e 



218 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. 10th Q.— Is thi3 the only order, from General Wilkin- 
son, to General Swartwout, you copied during that cam- 
paign, ill which oats were directed to he furnished? 
Jl, — It is, to the hcst of my recollection. 
lith Q. — Did you retain the original, or a copy of 
that order, or do you know what has hecome of it ? 

.^. — I simply copied a lettei', at the General's request: 
at that time I copied many. 

l^tli Q.—DocH not General Wilkinson always retain 
originals, or copies of documents, as vouchers? 

J. — He was very attentive to his correspondence, and 
if not mislaid, retains almost every paper. 

±3th Q. — Was any applicati(jn made hy you, or Gene- 
ral Wilkinson, to tlie secretary of war, at Sackett's Har- 
bour, or at any time before the army reached French 
Mills, for General Wilkinson's removal from military 
district No. 9, on the jjlea of ill health ? 

j2. — Not by mc, although some conversation, passed be- 
tween me and the secretary on that subject, and, I be- 
lieve, between him and General Wilkinson. 
General iMli ^. — At what time, in the campaign of 1813, was 

incapable General Wilkinson's situation such, as to preclude his 
of takinu-, taking, the necessary quantity of stimulus? 
quaiuhT' .^.—During the whole period, from the review of the 
of stimu- troops at Fort George, to his arrival at Malone. 

lits, from 
the time 
he was at JONATHAN BELL, 1st Lieutenant in the 22d regi- 

Geoiye, ment of infantry, and assistant deputy paymaster gene- 
uniiihis y.^1^ was sworn as a witness for the defence, and exa- 

aniv/il at . 

Malone. mined as iollows : 

nvoiLieu- ^^^ Q.' — W'AS you not attached to the family of Gene- 
tenant ,-al Wilkinsou, in the year 1813, in the capacity of a pri- 
Beir *" '^^^^ secretary; and had you not the chai'ge, of his mili- 
tary correspondence genei-ally ? 

J, — I was ; and liad tiie superintendence of his official 
eorrespondence. 

0,(1 Q, — Do you not recollect. General Wilkinson ask- 
ing you, at Sackett's Harbour, in October, 1813, for the 



GENERAL AVILKINSON. ^19 

copy of a letter, from him to the quarter-master general, chap. 
Brigadif'r-general Swartwout ; and did you not present ^^ 
him, the copy of a letter of the 25th of August, now pre- 
sented to you ; and what was his reply ? 

Jl. — During some correspondence with General Arm- 
strong, General Wilkinson informed him, he had directed 
the quarter-master general, to furnish a quantity of fo- 
rage. On this account, General Wilkinson applied to me, 
for his order to General Swartwout ; search was made, 
but none could be found answeiing the description. I 
then presented General Wilkinson, the letter of the 25th 
of August. He observed, that was not the one he 
wished. 

5rf Q, — Is not this copy in your own hand writing ; lias 
it not always been on file, and was it not copied in the 
letter book ? 

ji. — T^his copy was made by me; was introduced into 
the letter book soon after ; and has, I believe, always 
been on file. 

4th Q. — Did not General Wilkinson make frequent en- 
quiries, and express much solicitude for the copy of the 
letter, which contained an order for the providing of fo- 
rage ; and was it ever found ? 

ji — He made frequent enquiries, at the time, before 
spoken of; also at Malone, and at Plattsburgh; it was 
never found. 

5th Q. — Did you understand what was the cause, of 
General Wilkinson's solicitude, on the subject, of the copy 
of that letter ? 

^. — In his correspondence with the secretary of war. General 

he informed him, he had ordered a large quantity of fo- ^^''|'^'"- 

rage ; and his anxiety arose, I understood, from his anxiety, 

wishing to shew, that order to tlie secretary. ^° find i he 

'^ -^ copy of a 

6th Q. — Have you any recoHection of a search being letter, or- 
made at Plattsburgh, by order of General Wilkinson, for ™"^^''' 
an original letter from him, to Brigadier-general Swart- 
wont, which the said Swartwout pretended he had sent tions, to 
to General Wilkinson, by an orderly sergeant ? Were not pbtain 
the orderly sergeants, for ^^everal preceding days, called gence'of 



320 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, for, and examined without effect? And did not General 

^^ Wilkinson shew ,^roat soIk itinle on the subject ? 

Ji, — Colonel Pinkney, M;vior M'Pherson, and mvself, 

an original j 7 ^ ' « » 

lett-r.pre- were engaged in making the enquiry; examined all the 
iTe se^nt to orderlys, for several da} s in succession, and found no one 
him, by who had brought a letter, from General Swartwout, on 
ZZZ^ the day referred to. 

wout. 7th Q Did you not call on, Brigadier-general Swart- 

wout, quarter-master general, some short time before he 
left Plattsburgh, in February, 1814, with a note, from 
General Wilkinson, for a paper, or letter, or copy, with 
directions to receive it, from the said Swartwout ? 

ji. — I called upon him, shortly before his departure, 
with a note, the contents of which, I was not acquainted 
with; and was directed by General Wilkinson, to receive 
the paper, called for in the note. 

Sth Q Did you make such offer, and what was Bri- 
gadier-general Swartwout's reply ? 

A. — 1 made the offer; do not recollect the reply; but 
did not get the paper. 

Qth Q. — Was not this application made, to General 
Swartwout, by General Wilkinson, before you had infor- 
mation of the letter, said to be delivered by Gen. Swart- 
wout, to an orderly sergeant ? 
j1. — It was a short time previous. 
lOf/t Q. — Did you ever know of. General Swartwout's 
calling, on General Wilkinson, respecting that letter ? 
A. — I do not expressly know of his calling. 

The witness, being cross-examined on the part of the 
prosecution; stated, that the file w hich contained the copy 
of the letter, of the 25th of August, was not in his posses- 
sisn, but he had access to it, wiiile acting as secretary to 
General Wilkinson. He knows it, however, to have 
been on file, while Gencriil Wilkinson had command of 
district No. 9. After which time, he was not with him. 
But the letter, of the 35th of August, was copied by 
the witness, in the letter book, at Sackett's Harbour. 
The witness also stated^ that he does not think he ever 



GENERAL WILKINSON. ^1 

saw the original, or a copy of the order, to the qiiai'ter- chap. 
master general for forage, which General Wilkinson ex- ^ '• 
pressed solicitude to find ; and all his infrjrmation re- 
specting it, has been derived from General Wilkinson : 
that he does not recollect the particular day, he called 
upon General Swartwout, at Plattshurgh ; it was in the 
morning, after breakfast ; but it w«s a circumstance so 
trivial, lie cannot recollect much about it. 

MATTHEW IRWIN, assistant commissary general Testim©. 
of puichascs, was sworn, and examined, as a witness for thew ir- 
the defence, as follows : ^'"» ^^" 

sistant 
commissa- 

Isf Q. — Did you receive from the late secretary of 'y °^ P""^' 
war, in Oct. 1813, at Sackett's Harbour, an order for 
shipping clothing for the troops ? At what time was it 
given, and to whom were you directed to consign it? 

ji. — 1 did. It was given on tlie 18th or 19th of Octo- 
ber ; and was directed to consign the articles to Major 
Brown. 

Qd Q. — Did you receive a requisition from Doctor 
Ross, for blankets and clothing, for the use of the h()spi- 
tal at Sackett's Harbour ? Did you apply to the secretary 
of war, on this subject, and what foIl<>wed ? 

ji. — I received such a requisition ; presented it to the 
secretary of war, to ask him, whether it would be suffi- 
cient, without being countersigned by the commanding 
general ; and whether it was not too large. The secre- 
tary observed, it was sufficient without being counter- 
signed, by the commanding general ,* but instead of fif- 
teen hundred blankets, I should issue one thousand. 

3d Q. — Do you know whether any clothing, provisions, 
or quarter-masters' stores, were left on Grenadier Island, 
when the army decamped from that place? And can you 
say what was the quantity? 

j1. — I received a quantity of clothing, which I under- 
stood bad been left there ; and of wjjich I have an ac- 
count. I saw some provisions in bulk, say fifty or sixty 
casks and boxes, which were returned from Grenadier* 



MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. Island to the Harbour, and delivered to the assistant de- 
^'^' puty qtjarter-master general. Captain Burr. They were 
returned after the army left the island. 

Being cross-examined on the part of the prosecution, 
he testified, that the clothing was returned under the 
direction of a navy ofBcer. He was not acquainted with 
the fact, of their being left behind, on account of deficiency 
of transport. It was so surmised. He does not know, 
whether they vi^cre left under any person's care ; nor by 
whose order they were sent back. He further stated, 
that he received orders from General Wilkinson, to sup- 
ply clothing to the troops, at Grenadier Island, at diffe- 
rent times, from the 2Sd to the 30th of October. It took 
this time to complete the several orders. He thinks, he 
sent nearly all which was demanded, directed to the quar- 
ter-master general. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 22B 



CHAPTER VIL 

TestimGny of Lieutenant-colonel Joseph G. Totten. — His 

Dianj of the "weather^ from the 7th to the 20ih October. — 
Accomimnies General Swift to 7'econnoitre Prescoit. — Jlc- 
companies General Wilkinson to Rouse^s point, in March, 
1814. — General Wilkinson's intention of foriifijing it. — 
Receives intelligence of the enemy reinforcing La Cole 
Mill, and Isle aux JVoix. — Informs General Wilkinson 
thereof. — Council of war at Champlain, 29th of March. 
— Jrmy advances into Canada, to meet the enemy. — Skir- 
mish near Odeltown. — Witness, and Colonel Cummings, 
adjutant-general, of opinion « 12 ponnder competent, to 
make a practicable breach in La Cole Mill. — Positions 
for artillery, selected by Major M*Pherson, and witness, 
— Impracticable to heat shot seasonably. — Orderly retreat 
tending to inspire officers and men with confidence.— 
Thaw continues, and the Sorel opens above Rouse's point. 
— 4 single 18 pounder would not have made a practicable 
breach in La Cole Mill. — Opinion of Colonel Clark, j)re- 
vious to the attack. — Descnption of the circiimjacent 
ground. — Return of ordnance earned with the expedi- 
tion. — Minutes of the council of war. — General Tf^lkin- 
son much exposed to the enemifs fire, always cool and 
deliberate. — advisable to land men and ammunition, to 
save risk in passing Prescott — Difficulty of setting fire 
to La Cole Mill. — 'idvisable to wait for cover of night to 
pass Prescott. — Objects of the movementfrom Plattsburgh, 
not particrdarly against La Cole. — Testimony of Briga- 
dier-general Daniel Bissell. — General Wilkinson's 
disregard of his person in action. — Witness remonstrates 
on the miserable state of the transports. — General Wilkin- 
son forwards the expedition by every exertion in his 
power. — Proves General Wilkinson's sobriety on the 6th. 
— -JVt) unnecessary delay at the White House.'-Heard 



CHAP. 
VII. 



S24^ MEMOIRS BY 

Jiring on the lOth, — Supposed to be General Brown en- 
gaged. — Lands on an island, at the foot of the rapids and 
fads traces of an enemy there. — Enemy from the local 
advantages of the island^ might have greatly annoyed the 
flotilla. — Enemy retreats on hearing of the advance of our 
troojys on the British side. — Movement into Canada con- 
curred in by the principal officers. — attack on La Cole 
Millf decided on, in a council of war. — Enemy makes 
two sorties. — JVb opening for sending a flag. — Orderly 
retreat. — Council of war decides to detach a force to cover 
Burlington^ and for the main body to fall back on Cha'X>ct 
and Flattsburgh. — Testimony of Major James Rees. — 
Resignation of Quarter-master-general Swartwout. — He 
re-assumes his duties, under authority of a letter from the 
secretary of war. — Thaw renders it impracticable to 
transport ordnance to Rouse^s point Testimony of Colo- 
nel M'Feely, 25th infantry. — Good order of retreat 
from La Cole Mill. — Confidence of officers and men in 
General Wilkinson unimpaired. — Testimony of Colonel 
Daniel Brearly, Xbth infantry. — JSTever heard Gene- 
ral Wilkinson use language, countenancing waste of pub- 
lic stores. — That he was not intoxicated on the 6th. — 
Fourteen boats assigned to the witnesses regiment, and 
eight were lost the first night, the boats were unsafCf 
when they started. 

CHAP. JOSEPH G. TOTTEN, brevet Liiujtenant-Colo- 

^^^..^^^^^ nel of engineers, being* sworn, as a witness for the de- 
Testimo- fence, was examined, as follows : 

ny of hre- 

Col'jos'.** *^^ Q.— Were yoii at Sackett's Harbour, in Octob 
G. Totten. 1813, anil in what capacity? 

^. — I was, as assistant engineer. 

Qd Q. — What was the state of the weather at ths 
place, from the 7th of October to the 20th of the sai 
Diary of month ? 

the wea- ^_ — jt ^as generally tempestuous, and I kept the fo 
the 7th of lowing particular diary of it. 1813, October 4th, arrive^ 
?oVh/° at Sackett's Harbour, with General Wilkinson, etl 



GENERAL WILKINSON. ^25 

Commodore Chauncey came in with some prisoners, chap. 
7tli, Wind blows hard from the west. 15th, Tiie wind '^'^' 
has continued, till to-day blowing violently — rain. 16th, 
Rain in the morninj^. In the afternoon, about forty 
boats pushed off, for Grenadier Island. 17th, South-east 
wind increased to a gale, at 2 o'clock, P.M. Continued 
thus, till 4 P. M. Rain. Wind changed, suddenly, to 
the west, and blowed a gale. Fleet came in at night. 
18th, Fleet sailed early. Wind south-east, and li.!:,ht. At 
2 P. M., wind changed to west, and bh>ws violently. 
Many of our boats have returned. Some have been des- 
troyed. Our troops have attempted the passage, with 
evei'y appearance of favourable weather. Those pro- 
mises, hitherto have proved delusive. 19tli, Wind in die 
morning, light. Afternoon, strong from the west. Our 
troops have improved the favour of the morning, and 
most of them have arrived at Grenadier Ishmd. 20th, 
Wind this morning south-east, and light. Leave Sack- 
ett's Harbour. 24tli, Arrived at Ogdensburgh. 

Sd Q — Did you not accompany General Swift, the 
chief engineer, from Sackett's Harbour to Ogdensbui'gh, 
ahout the time the expedition sailed, from the former 
place? And on what duties wet'e you engaged there? 

^. — I did. We left Sackett's Harbour on the 20th. 
The object, as I was instructed, by General Swift, was 
to examine Prescott; obtain the best plan of it ; measure 
the width of the river, at that place; determine tiie na- 
ture and strength of the currents ; the position of the 
shoals in the neighbourhood ; and genei-ally to find the 
best landing places, and procure pilots for the rapids?, 
with a view to the flotilla's passing Presrott. 

4th Q Did you not accompany, General Wilkinson, in 

the month of March, 1814, to Rouse's point, at the head 
of the Sorrel river, on Lake Champlain, and reconnoi- 
tre that spot ? And did you not understand an officer of 
the enemy, was there soon after, and declared General 
Wilkinson's visit, was with a view to fortify that place? 

J.— I did, on the 4th of March ^ and afterwards un- 
vol. HI. F f 



S^6 



MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP. 
VII 



General 
Wilkin- 
son's in- 
tention to 
take pos- 
session of 
Rouse's 
point. 

Enemy re- 
inforces 
L;. ''.ole 
Mill, ynd 
Isle aux 
Noix. 



Mennoran- 
dnm of 
enemy's 
foree, 
transmit- 
ted () Ge 
neral Wil- 
kinson. 



derstood,that an officer of the enemy had been there, and 
niatle the remaik above stated. 

5tu Q. — Did nnt, General Wilkinson, in the same month, 
send you to examine the same spot, witii an eye to the 
establisliment of a post tiicre, to command the puss into 
Lake Champlain? And did you not furnish a sketch of 
tlie site? And \\as it not of your opinion, that a heavy 
battery, or batteries, established at that spot, would have 
commanded the i'i\er, and blockaded the British flotilla? 

J. — 1 answer to this, affirmatively, 

eiji q, — Did you not understand, it was General Wil- 
kinson's intention, to take possession of Rouse's point. 

J Yes. 

jth q. — Were not, General Wilkinson's, secret intolli- 
gencers made known to you; and did you not receive in- 
formation from them, that the enemy liad, after. General 
Wilkinson, reconnoitred Rouse's point, reintorced La 
Cole Mill, its vicinity, and also the Isle aux Noix? And 
what is the distance, from the last place to La Cole 

Mill ? 

^. — Two of his secret intelligencers were made known 
to me, and I received such information. The distance 
from the Isle aux Noix, to La Cole Mill, is about seven 
miles. 

8f/i Q. Have you any recollection of the force of the 

enemy, said to be assenjbled in tliat quarter at the time ? 
And did you not give that information, to General Wil- 
kinson ? Do you remember the date, and was not the ice, 
in the lake, strong at that period ? 

J.' — i sent General Wilkinson the following memoran- 
dum : 

March Q7th. — At La C(de Mill, 13th regiment and two 
companies incorporated militia, 600 men. At Isle auX 
Noix, one battalion royal marines, 550; 49th regiment, 
400; voltigeurs, iOO; Demeuron, 600.— In all 2,550, 
am doubtful as to the correctness of the date, but it couU 
not have varied more than a day. The ice was the 
strong. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. ^%y 

9th Q. — Do you recollert, when the troops were assem- CH\p. 
bled at Cliairiplain ? And did not an unexpeded, and, ^" 
from the information of the ohiest inhabitants, a most 
nncominon thaw, commence at the same time ? 

j3. — They assembled on the 28tli and 29f h. The thaw, 
from the conversation of the people, was unusually early, 

10th Q. — Did not the division of the troops, under Ma- 
jor-general Wilkinson, enter Canada, with the approba- 
tion of the general officers, commanding officers of corps, 
and chiefs of departnn nfs, to meet the enemy, should he 
advan( e ? or to attack the post, at La Cole, should cir- 
cumstances recommend it? 

^.— It did. 

11th Q. — What was the disposition, and movement of 
the corps? Did not the enemy attack our advance guard, 
in the vicinity of Odeltown ; and was he not repulsed ? 

»5. — I do not remember tlie disposition of the corps ; Advance 
tut it is my impression, that it was agreeable to the or- puisesTiie 
ders prescribed. The advance corps was engaged, be- enemy 
yond Odeltown, and drove the enemy. towQ. ^ ' 

IQth Q. — Was not the column, misled by the officer, 
commanding the advance guard, who pretended to a 
knowliMlge of the route? And did not this involve several 
hours delay ? 

^. — The column was misled, I know not by whom, 
and several hours were lost in consequence. 

ISth Q. — Was not the main road to La Cole abatied, 
and utterly impracticable? And was not the route, by 
which we approached it, a temporary narrow winding 
path, made for sleighs? Were we not obliged to clear th© 
way, by a party of axe-men, for the paSiiage of a twelve 
pounder? 

A Yes. 

lUh Q. — From the opinion you had formed of La Cole Previous 
Mill, founded on the information you had collected, did ^^ \^^^ **' 

, , ,. , , tack, the 

you not believe a practicable breach, could have been witness 
made in its walls, by a twelve pounder? And did you not ""^^o*- 
give this opinion expressly, to G=suer*il WiiJiiiison ? And mings, j^d. 



g38 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, flid not Colonel Cummings, the adjutant-general, give 

^ "• tlie same opinion, at the same time ? 

^^ J? —Yes 

jutant-ge- 

neiai, of 15th Q. — Was not our advance guard attacked, on its 

thai a"' marc h, to La Cole Mill ? And in what order did the 

practica- troops advance, and form ? Was it conformably to the 

breach plan now exhibited ? And ' as this plnn fiintished to the 

might general officers, and the officers commanding corps, at 

have been ' ,. • . , t ^ 

made by a Champlam, belore the division marclicd.* 

12 poun- ^ — Qyj. advance guard was so attacked, on its ap- 
der. 

proach to the mil], I do not know, precisely, the order 

of march ; but my impression was, that it was conf.irma- 

ble, to the order prescribed. The plan exhibited, is a 

correct copy, of the orders distributed to the officers. 

They formed, as nearly as the ground would admit, 

agreeably thereto, 

IGtIi Q. — Were you not near the enemy's post, at La 

Cole, before the battery was placed ? And did you fall in 

with. Major M<Pherson, and converse with him? And if 

so, be pleased to state what was said ? 

Witness ^^ — I met Major M'Pherson, who I understood had 
and Major , , ^, • • i i . • «. 

M'i'her- preceded the principal column, to reconnoiti*e tor a posi- 

son, con- ^j^j^ ^^^ which to plant his battery. He observed, he 

cur m opi- 

nion, as to had examined the ground attentively, and that he had 

*^^ , selected the position on which he stood. I approved of 

grotindse- ^ * * 

lected for it. 

the bat- ^>^fj^ q^ — j)ij „q^ Major M'Pherson, long after he had 
opened his battery, require a 5 1 inch howitzer, to 
be sent to him ? Did you not report that a breach would 
certainly be made? An«l when near General Wilkinson, 
could we not distinctly hear the stroke of the balls ? 

J. — Certainly. 

±Sth ^. — Was not the position taken for the battery, 
the best that could be found, at the same distance from 
the house? and could it have been taken nearer, without 
exposing the men, openly to the fire of the enemy's small 
arms ? 



* See Appendix, No. IX^ 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 329 

wi. — I think it was the best. It could not have heen chap. 
taken nearer, without so exposing the men. The dis- ^ ' 
tance to the mill, was about two hundred and fifty yards, position 

19iA Q. — Could the house have been carried, by the as- about 250 

w n 11 ■) yards from 

sauJt 01 suiall arms i the mill 

j3. — Not without prodigious slaugliter. the best 

20f/i Q. — What was the depth of the snow ? And was 1,^^^ been 
it practicable, after the arrival of the troops, before the selected, 
house, to heat and fire red-l»ot shot into it, before night 
fall ? 

Ji. — The snow was between a foot and eighteen inches Thinks it 
deep. I think it was not pra; ticable. pr^a^ctrca- 

9.1st Q. — Could the troops have kept their position du- ble, to 
ring the night, without laying down in the snow, and K^f^i-e 
being exposed to the rain which fell ? night-fall. 

A. — They must have laid in the snow, and been ex- 
posed to the rain, which fell in torrents. 

9.9.(1 Q. — Did the troops remain inactive, or were the 
njen usrlessly exposed, before the enemy at La Cole? 

A. — Alter forming the troops, about the mill, they were Troops 

stationary, except some detachments which were made : "o\"se- 

lessly ex- 
one particularly, under Colonel Miller, from General posed. 

Bissell's brigade. They were, at no time, uselessly ex- 
posed. 

9od Q. — After the countenance shewn by the enemy, 
and the manner he had received us at all points, in the 
course of the day, would it have been military to demand 
a surrender, before we had made a breach? Or, situated 
as he was, do you think lie would have received a flag? 

A. — Flags ])robably are sometimes sent under such cir- 
cumstances ; hut it was my opinion, that he would not at 
the time, have received a flag, with the advantage he 
possessed. 

24^/i Q. — Were the troops withdrawn from the post of 
La Cole, under cover of the night, in a disgraceful and 
hasty manner ; and were the feelings, of General Wilkin- 
son's, subordinate officers, thereby deeply wounded; the 
martial spirit of the soldiers destroyed j and the army 
exposed to mortification and disgrace i 



S30 



MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP. 
Yll. 

Troops 
with- 
drawn, in 
a regular 
anrl mili- 
tary man- 
ner — the 
affiir 
tended to 
insp re 
men and 
officers 
With con- 
fidence. 



Thaw con- 

tinues,and 

the So- 

rel opens 

above 

Rouse's 

Point. 



d. — Tlie troops were withdrawn before night-fall, and 
in a manner perfectly resjular and military. ] can only 
judge of the feelings of, General Wilkinson^s, snbordin;ite 
ofii( ers, from my own, whirh were such, as must result 
from disappointment, under any circumstances. The af- 
fair of the day, would rather inspirit the officers and sol- 
diers, as it would inspire them with confidence in them- 
selves. 

25t/i Q. — Will you describe the time, circumstances, 
and manner, in whi* h the retrograde movement from be- 
foi-e La Cole mill, was made ; and the apparent effects, 
which the affair produced, on the minds of officers and 
men ? 

^. — I was directed by General Wilkinson, to bring up 
a part of the reserve, under Colonel M<Feely, and place 
it in a position he pointed out, to cover the retreat. Du- 
ring this movement, the troops whi( h had crossed the 
river, returned, and with part of General Bissell's bri- 
gade on this side, countermarched past Colonel M*Fee- 
ly's regiment ; then followed General Smith's brigade, 
afterwards the reserve. 

26th Q. — Was not the route to La Cole mill, inun- 
dated the next day, and rendered difficult to the passage 
of foot-men ? 

*3. — I did not sec itj but, from information, believe it 
was almost impassable. 

9,7th Q. — Did not the thaw continue ? Were not the 
roads rendered almost impassable; and was not the 
Sorel open above Rouse's Point, before the troops left 
Ciiamplain ? 

^.__Yes. 

'28th (l.—Was not a portion of the enemy's flotilla, then 
ready to enter the lake? And did not those circumstances, 
render the establishment of a post, at Rouse's Point, im- 
practicable at that period? 

e5. — Those circumstances, with the badness of the 
roads, the impossibility of getting up cannon from the 
south, and the few we had with us, rendered it inexpe- 
dient. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 33^ 

Q9th ^. — From the information you now possess, do chap. 
you believe, a single eighteen pounder, could have made ^'^^' 
a practicable breach in the wall, of La Cole mill, while . , ,„ 
the troops lay before it, on the 30th of March ? poumitr, 

.^.— Under the circumstances it could not. hTve m^de 

SOth Q. — On what circumstances, did you ground your apractica- 
opinion, of the strength and thickness of the walls, of 
La Cole mill, anterior to the attack of the place ? 

.5. — From information, collected from the people in the 
neighboui'hood, who knew, or pretended to know, every 
^thing about it. 

51st Q. — Did you not hear. Colonel Isaac Clark, de- 
clare, previous to the attack of the place, that he would 
knock down, or demolish the mill, with a six pounder ? 

J. — I did, several days before the attack; his lan= 
guage conveyed that meaning. 

52d Q. — From the disposition of the enemy's pickets, 
and the nature of the circumjacent ground, was it prac- 
ticable to reconnoitre the post of La Cole, before his out- 
posts and guards were driven in? 

^. — It was not. 

Sod Q. — What is the nature of the ground, and how 
much cleared land is there, immediately, round La Cole 
mill ? 

Jl The ground, for the distance of two hundred Descrip- 

yards, north and south, and above the mill, tlescends ^.'^"^"^"^^j^^® 
gradually to the mill. The banks of the river, above "o»;nd La 
this, are abrupt. The breadth of the clearing, is about ^^" ' 
one hun<lred yards, on the north side; from one hundred 
and fifty, to two hundred, on the south side; and a nar- 
row strip of cleared land, on the north side of the river, 
from the mill to its mouth. The woods adjacent, are of 
small growth, shrubbery and small saplings, but very 
thick and compact. 

Question by the Court. 
Q. — How many pieces of artillery, were carried with Question 
tlie expedition? And what is the height of the mill ? court? 



g3S 



MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP. 
VII. 

Ac ount 
of ord- 
nanccjcar- 
ried with 
the expe- 
dition. 



^, — An ei.^hteen, two twelve pounders, and one five 
and a half inch howitzer. Tlie heij^ht of the null is dif- 
ferently represented, from three to four stories ; proba- 
ble three on one side, and four on the other. 



The court adjourned to the 24th February, 
10 o'clock, A. M. 



1815, 



Troyt February 24f/i, 1815. 
The court convened pursuant to adjournment. 
The examination of Lieutenant-colonel Totten, was 
resumed, as follows : 



Minutes 
of the 
council 
of war. 



Reasons 
why ihe 
witness 
believed, 
a flag of 
truce 
would not 
be receiv- 
ed by the 
enemy. 



34th Q. — Does not the paper, now presented to you, 
contain the orii^inal minutes of a council of war, holden 
at Champlain, on the 29th of March, 1814? and is not 
the sketch of the country, thereunto attached, also the 
original proposed to the counc il that day ?* 

Jl These are the original minutes, and also the plan 

presented to the council. 

35th Q. — You say, you conversed with some officers, 
respe( ting the sending of a flag to the enemy, on the 30th 
of March, 1814. Can yow st te any particulars? 

^.— The only person, I distinctly recollect conversing 
with, was Major Lomax. Our impression was, that from 
the importance of such an advanced post, to the enemy, 
and the advantages they possessed, the commandant 
would not suffer a flag to approach; and that tlie person 
carrying it, would most probably be killed ; inasmuch as 
he could have no intention to surrender, and would not 
permit his position to be reconnoitred, which might have 
been the case, had he admitted a flag. 

56th Q. — Did you see. General Wilkinson, under the 
fire of the enemy, on the 30th of Marcli, 1814 ? And was 
he not cool and self-possessed ? State circumstances, if 
you recollect any ? 



* See Appendix, No. X. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 233 

J. — I saw General Wilkinson, several times, in the rear chap. 
of a piece, at which the principal fire of ihe enemy was 
directed. At other times, I saw him partially exposed, q^.,^^i..^^ 
but always cool and deliberate. He was more than once Wiikmson 
urged to retire, from his exposed situation, by the gen- ™"l(i to" 
tlemen about him. enemy's 

Lieutenant-colonel Totten was then cross- examined, 
by the judge advocate, as follows: 

1st q. — Considering the width of the river, opposite Cross exa- 
Prcscott, the rapidity* of its current, and the facility Qf """'*^^°"- 
passing in the night, was it indispensable, or even judi- 
cious, to land the ammunition, and despatch the troops 
along shore ? 

ji. — It was considered by General Swift and myself, 
that the enemy would be prepared for the flotilla, and 
that the ammunition vessel would be endangered by their 
hot shot. We also were of opinion, that it would be ad- 
visable to land the troops. 

2d Q. — Would not the additional risk of passing Prea- 
cott, in the flotilla, be more than counterbalanced by a 
day's delay, at such an advanced season, by tlie more 
matured iireparations of the enemy for offensive mea- 
sures, and the opportunity it gave them, of odlecting 
their militia and regulars, overtaking the flotilla, and 
annoying our rear ? 

ji, — It was not presumed, that more than one night 
would be necessary, to land the troops and powder, and 
to effect the passage, as General Swift had provided 
transportation for the latter. I sliould certainly deem it Thinks it 
an advisable measure, not to have exposed the tioops and ^^Me to' 
ammunition, as the works at Prescott, were constructed, ^"'■'i ''^a 
solely with a view, to prevent the passage ot an enemy j munition. 
and I cannot account for the little injury we sustained. 

3d q. — If the troops alone had been landed, without 
other articles, what time would tlie debarkation have ne- 
cessarily consumed ? Would not this have been sufficient 
for the purposes of security ? 

* This " rapid currerif^ moves about a mile an hour. 

vol. III. G s 



^S4f MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. ^.-— Two or three hours ; four at most, would have 
been sufficient. 

4th ^ — What was our effective force at La Cole? 
' J, — J only know by the statement, made in the council 
of war, before recorded. 

5th ^ — By whose agency, was our advance guard 
misled; and what time was lost in consequence of it? 

J. — One or two brigades of the army, and almost all 
the artillery, were misled. I do not know who was the 
cause of it, and should suppose, that three hours were 
lost in consequence of it. 

eth ^ — At what time of day, did we arrive before the 
mill ? And what period elapsed, before the 12 pounder 
opened its fire ? 

J. — I cannot state, with any correctness, the time we 
arrived: it might have been three quarters of an hour, 
before the battery was planted : the second 12 pounder, 
for Some cause or other, probably the narrowness and 
crookedness of the road, could not be brought into ac- 
tion ? 

•^th ^ — Was thei'e any snow on the roof of the mill ; 
and would it have been practicable to have set fire to it, 
with red-hot shot? 
Difficulty ji, — I presume, from the thaw, there was no snow on 

fireTo "he ^''^ *"''' ? **"* ''*' "'^* remember distinctly. It would have 
roof of La been difficult, if not impracticable, to liave lodged a shot 
in the roof, if it was like ordinary roofs, with a single 
board and shingles. 

Sth ^ — Were there any sorties from the mill, and did 
they not present a favoui'ubie moment, for running^ in 
upon the enemy, and carry the work? 

Jl, — There were tw^o, I think ; and during these, afire, 
was kept up from the mill, until their troops nearly closed 
Xvith ours. The assault, from this circumstance, could, 
in my opinion, scarcely have been more practicable than 
before. The strongest sortie might have consisted of two 
companies, or two and a half. 

* The zeal of the judge advo&ate is always manifest; it was a sub- 
stitute for capacity. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. nS5 

yth ^ — Was any attempt made to storm the mill, or chap. 
cut off the retreat of the detachment which sallied out ? ^ '*" 

^ — There was no attempt made to storm the mill, and 
none, I believe, to cut off the retreat. 
: 10th ^ — You say, that after our infantry were posted, 
they continued stationary. How long did they so conti- 
nue, and wliat purposes did tliey answer, wliile in this 
situation? 

.^.— I cannot state the time, but it was from their ar- 
rival, to the period of their retreat; tiie intention of 
keeping the troops about the mill, was to assault it, in 
case a breach had been made, and cut off the enemy's 
retreat. 

11th ®. — Were the troops then exposed, to the fire of Enemy 
the enemy's artillery and musketry ; or could their smiill ^I'^u^ry 
arms be of use, except in cases of sortie ? bui 'Vom 

^. — The enemy fired no ai'tillery, except from their boats 'and 
gun boats, wliich opened a useless fire, fifty or one hun- that fire 
dred feet above our heads ; they were a little exposed to i^^g 
the musketry, and some men were killed in the neigh- 
bourhood of the artillery ; their small arms, could have 
been of very little service, except in case of a sortie. 

12th ^ — Was not the mill so surrounded by our troops, 
as to cut off all communication, w ith the adjacent country? 

^. — [ think it was. There might possibly have been 
a communication along the river. 

15th ®. — Did the fire of the enemy, at any time, 
slacken ; and what appeared to you to be the cause ? 

ji, — 1 do not remember, there was any remarkable 
cessation. 

14th ^ — According to your information, what was the 
thickn' ss of the walls , the number of doors, on the side 
our approaches were made ; the situation of the win- 
dows, and the possibility of effecting a bj'each, through 
the latter, by means of artillery ? 

^ — My information, as to the thickness of the walls, 
■was, that, like in ordinary stone buildings, it was eigh- 
teen inches, or two feet, thick, I never could learn there 
tvas more than one door» and always understood, there 



J836 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, were very few windows, and these were small ; their po- 
^^' sition, I could not determine, 
^^^^^"^'^^ I5th Q. — Had arrangements for the purpose been made, 
preparatory to our march, on the 30th, what time would 
it then have taken, to have constructed a furnace for red- 
hot shot ? 

^.^-The only regular furnace that can he constructed, 
requires one, or two days ; shot, however, may be heated 
with dry wood, on dry ground, in three quarters of an 
hour : but no dry wood, or proper materials, could be 
procured at La Cole, 

IQth ^.— Do you know the force of the enemy, who 
first attacked our advance, on their march to La Cole ? 

ji. — I do not. 

IJtIi ^ — You say, a single eighteen pounder, would 
not have effected a breach. Was the eighteen pounder 
brought up, within point blank distance, and the experi- 
ment tried ? 

A, — It was not brought, within less than three miles of 
the mill. 

\Sth Q. — What was our loss in killed, wounded, &c. in 
this affair; and were any of them left on the ground, 
when the army retired ? 

A.- — The loss I do not distinctly recollect ; but none of 
our killed or wounded, were left on the ground, nor any 
thing belonging to tlie army. 

±9th ^ — Were oxen used to drag the artillery, and 
would they not have been better adapted, to this purpose, 
than draft horses ? 

A. — I believe not. They are not better than draft 
horses, 

9.0th ^. — Had we not artillery sufficient, with the army 
at Plattsburgh, to have taken the requisite number of 
pieces, for battering down tlie mill, and oxen or draft 
horses to draw^ them ? 

./4.— We had, if they could have been covered by a pa- 
rapet. 

Qlst ^ — Had the troops their tents in this expedition^ 
OP any thin^ to shelter them from the weather? 



GENERAL WILKINSON. S37 

J. — I think they had not, generally. CHAP. 

22rf ^. — •Under all the circumstances, did you consi- ^ "• 
der tlie relinquishment of the enterprise, and the retro- consider- 
grade movement of the army, tlie most eligible and judi- ed there- 
cious measure, that could have been adopted? ment'of' 

A, — Under all the circumstances, I did. the mea- 

sun, ju- 
„ ,. , .7 ^ . dicious. 

Question by the Court, 

^ — What length of time, did the fire of our twelve 
pounder, continue against the mill^ and did any of the 
shot pass through the mill ? 

ji. — I think about an hour. I was informed by de- 
serters, that one twelve pound shot passed through the 
wall, near the chimney, where it was weakest. 

Mditioiial questions by General Wilkinson, 

1st ^.— The troops not having reached the neighbour- 
hood of Frescott, before midnight of the 5th, had you or 
General Swift, an opportunity to communicate to Gene- 
ral Wilkinson, the result of your observations on that 
fortification, and the best mode of passing it, before the 
morning of the 6th of November ? 

A. — General Swift left me for the purpose, of seeing 
General Wilkinson, the night the troops arrived; but I 
know not, whether they met. There probably was not 
sufficient time to have lauded the troops, that night, and 
inarched past. 

M ^ — Do you think it would have been most advisa- 
ble, to pass Prescott in open day light, with the flotilla ; 
or to have waited one day, for the advantage of the co- 
ver of night? 

A. — It was certainly advisable, to wait for the cover Thinks it 

of the night. ^f, ^^^i- 

^ sable, to 

5d ^ — Were not the sorties from the mill, unexpect- wait for 
cd, sudden, and rapid ; and the retreat of the parties 0^1^111'' 
employed, almost instantaneous? And was not the ground, to pass 
such as to conceal the approach of the enemy, until he ^'"^^^^^^ 
had nearly closed with our line ? 



S38 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. A. — The sorties were unexpected; their retreat sud- 
^^^ den, as they stood only one or two fires ; the ground was 
as represented. 

4iA ^. — Was not the position of the infanti7 near La 
Cole, indispensable, to protect our battery, and to pre- 
vent the enemy's escape, if he should attempt to retreat? 
Position A. — Judging from the force of the enemy's charges, it 
fantrv He- ^^^ Certainly prudent, that a large force, should be in 
cessary the neighbourhood of the artillery, and nothing else 
Bervatioif saved tlicm. It was also necessary, to prevent their 
of the ar- escape. 

htli ^. — Was not the enemy reinforced, by land, from 
the Isle aux Noix, during our attack on La Cole mill ? 

A.—\ do not know positively. It was believed there 
were reinforcements from the Isle aux Noix. The troops 
which were encountered in the morning, I have every 
reason to believe, also entered the mill. 

^th ^ — Did you not find some difficulty, in building 
furnaces, for heating shot, at Plattsburgh, after our re- 
turn ? 

A. — I found difficulty, for want of materials. 
7th ^. — Was the eighteen pounder carried forward, 
from the cleared land near Smith's ? 
A, — I was so informed. 

8iA ^. — Have you any idea, that the great object of 
the movement of the troops, from Plattsburgh, was to at- 
tack La Cole alone 1 
^.— No. 



Testimo- DANIEL BISSELL, Brigadier-general in the United 
Kudier-"^ ' States army, and a member of the court, was sworn, as 
general a witness for the defence, and examined as follows : 

\st ^. — How long have you served, in a military capa- 
city, with General Wilkinson ? 
A. — Twenty years. 

2(/ ^.— Have you always found him vigilant, indus- 
trious, and attentive, to every branch of the public ser- 
vice, confided to him ? 



GENERAL WILKINSON. S39 

4. — I have, uni-emittingly so, as far as came to my chap. 
I knowledge. 

Zd ^ — Did he not maintain a uniform system, of su- 
bordination and discipline; giving to rank its due, and 
securing to the youngest subaltern his right? 

A He did. 

Ath ^. — Was he attentive to the police, the manners, 
habits, appearance, health, and comfort, of the soldiery? , 
I Jnd did he not always discourage drunkenness and de- 
f' Muchery? 

A — Always. 

5th ®, — Did he not always appear zealously attached, 
to the honour of the army, and devoted to the service of 
his country ? 

J. — I thought so. 

eth ^ — When the service required it, did he spare 
himself from subaltern duties? 

Ji. — When occasion required, he performed subordi- 
nate duties. 

7th ^ — Have you seen General Wilkinson in action, 
and if so, will you say, whether he appeared flustered or 
alarmed ? or, cool, self-possessed, and regardless of his 
person ? 

j1. — I have seen General Wilkinson in action. He ap- General 
peared self-possessed, and regardless of his person : so gon'sdis- 
much so, that in two instances, 1 begged him, through regard of 
his staff, to retire, as he exposed himself unnecessarily. ;n\ctk)^°? 

^th ^ — Was you at Fort George, in 1813, when Ge- 
neral Wilkinson arrived tliere, and what was your 
rank? 

A. — I was there : Colonel of the 5th regiment of in- 
fantry. 

9th ^ — What was the state of the transports, for em- 
barking the troops, at that place, when General Wilkin- 
son arrived there ? 

Ji. — It was miserable. The boats were much out of Witness 
repair, and repaiis made after he arrived. As late as gtrates'on 
the 25th September, tliey were in such bad order, I re- the mise- 
monstrated on the subject, in a letter to General Wilkin- of the ' 



340 



MEMOIRS BY 



CHA.P. 
Vll. 



trans- 
ports, on 
the 25th 
Sept. 



General 
Wilkinson 
hastens 
the expe- 
dition, by 
every ex- 
ertion in 
his power. 



son. I bad to prepare, both the boats and oars, by tlie 
assistance of the men of my regiment, and materials for 
this, were, witii much difficulty, procured. 

loth ^ — Was not every exertion, afterwards, made 
to equip the boats found there ? And was there a day's 
unnecessary delay, in embarking the troops, for Hender- 
son's Bay, after the transport was in readiness, and 
the wind served ? 

^. — Every exertion was made ; and I know of no un- 
necessary delay. 

±±th ^ — Was you not several days encamped, with 
your corps, on the beach opposite the boats, and what 
prevented your embarkation ? 

^. — I was encamped, from about the 25th to the 28th; 
when the enemy's fleet was not in sight, the winds 
prevented our embarking. 

12th ^ — Did you not embark on the 28th September, 
proceed down the lake a few miles ? And w^ere you not 
recalled by General Wilkinson, the same day ? And do 
you know wherefore ? 

j^. — I did embark, proceeded some distance, and was 
recalled, in consequence of an expected attack. But we 
could not liave gone much further, the wind was nearly 
a-head, then, and it was already between 4 and 5 o'clock, 
in the afternoon. 

13th ^ — Did this recal, delay your arrival, at Hen- 
derson's Bay ? and if so, how long did it delay you ? 

ji. — I think not. 

li'th^ — Did not General Wilkinson hasten the move- 
ment of the troops, from Fort George to Henderson's 
Bay, by every exertion in his power ? And do you be- 
lieve a single hour was lost, by any neglect on his part ? 

J. — I think he did every thing in his power, to expe- 
dite the movement of the troops. 

IBth ^ — At what time, did you sail from Fort George, 
and when arrive at Henderson's Bay ? Be pleased to de- 
scribe the incidents which occurred, and the weather 
which attende * your voyage ? 

J. — We sailed on, or about the 1st of October. Ar- 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 241 

rived at Six Town point, forming Henderson's Bay, on chap. 
the 9th. During tlie voyage, the weather was tempestu- ^ ''* 
ous, with very few hours intormission. 

16th Q At what time did you sail from Henderson's 

Bay, for Grenadier Island? And when did you arrive at 
the latter place ? And was there an hour's unnecessary 
delay, at Henderson's Bay ? 

ji I sailed on the I6th. Arrived on the 17th. In 

the passag'e, a storm drove me on Fox Island. I thought 
every exertion was made, at Henderson's Bay, and tiiere 
was no unnecessary delay. 

17 til Q. — Was there any unnecessary delay, at Grena- 
dier Island ? And when did you reach French Creek ? 

yl I thought not. I left Grenadier Island the 28th 

of October, and about the 30th, reached French Creek. 

18th Q. — Was there any unnecessary delay, at French 
Creek ? And was the movement of the army, from that 
place down the St. Lawrence, in military order, and 
under the directi(»n of the necessary signals? 

j4. — I know of no unnecessary delay. Every exertion 
appeared to have been made ; and the expedition moved 
in very handsome order, with all the necessary signals. 
Considerable confusion occurred at night. It was after 
12 o'clock at night, before I arrived, and got my boats 
together. We hatl previously landed above. Some of 
the men were much fatigued, and had rowed hard during 
the day. 

i9th Q. — Would it have been either safe, or convenient 
after tiie labours of the day, for the flotilla to have pass- 
ed Prescott, the same night it came to, above that place? 

^. — I think it would have been very hazardous. 

20th Q. — Did you make any observation on the move- 
ment of the army, by Prescott, on the night of the 6th of 
November? And was it made in military order, op 
otherwise ? 

A, — I went by land, and had charge of eight wagons, 
loaded with ammimition. 

2lst ^. — Did you see General Wilkinson, on the eren^ 
VOL. in. H h 



^if2 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, ing of thcs 6tli of November, or morning of the 7tli? And 
^*^' if so, did he appear to be intoxicated ? 
General *^* — ^ received my orders from General Wilkinson, 
Wilkinson about 4 o'clork, or between 4 and 5, in tlie afternoon. 
sobeTon He was perfectly sober then. I did not see him again 
the after- until the 8th. 

the'eth 22i/ ^ — Did you not, on the 8th November, observe 

^"v. armed bodies of the enemy, on the left bank of the St. 

Lawrence ? 

d. — Two or three miles above the White House, I saw 
one hundred, or one hundred and fifty, on the Canada 
side, marching up the river. 

2Sd ^. — When did you arrive at the White House, op- 
posite Fort Matilda ? 

J.— In the forenoon of the 8th, 

24tli Q. — Were not the cavalry crossed to the Canada 
shore, at that place, in the artillery scows? And did 
you see any place on the St. Lawrence, where they 
could have been crossed, with equal safety and expedi- 
tion ? 

w3. — Tliey were, and 1 saw no better place, on the St. 
Lawrence. 

25th Q — Was there any unnecessary delay, at the 
White House? 
Nounne- ^. — I thought not. 

dday'^at ^^^^^ R.' — ^^^ there not a firing heard, between the 
the White enemy and our troops, on the evening of the 8th, and 
morning of the 9th ? 
c4.— Yes. 

27th Q. — Did you hear General Brown engaged with 
the enemy, on the lOtli of November? And were you not 
ordered the same day, to proceed down the Long Saut, 
with your regiment, and a detachment of artillery, to 
dislodge a body of the enemy, said to be posted on an 
island, near the foot of that rapid, for the purpose of an- 
noying us in our descent ? 
Heard a J. — I heard a firing; and was informed, tliat General 

nrintj on ■„ , . ' . . , , ■. ,t 

the loih, Brown s command was engaged with the enemy. I, the 



GENERAL WILKINSON. SIS 

same day, received such orders; but was unavoidably do- chap. 
tallied, until tlie morning of the 11th. ^ ' 

28th ^. — Did you not land on that island ? And did ^,^jj ^ 
you not discover marks of an enemy, having recently posed 

, , , ., , General 

been posted on it ? Brown en- 

J — I landed on that island, in the morning of tlie 11th, gaged, 
with three hundred men, and four gun boats, command- 
ed by Captain Crane ; reconnoitred it, and from fires, 
breast works of logs, abbatis, blinds and trails, discover- 
ed that an enemy had been posted there. A man on the 
American shore, corroborated this information. 

Q9th ^. — Will you describe to the court, the locality of 
that island, and the position taken by the enemy ? And if 
they had ivept their ground, would it not have cost some 
b1o(»d, to dislodge them ? 

c4. — Tlie banks are high. There are few places on the An enemy, 

...,,, , rn. fiom the 

American side, where troops can get up. The most local ad- 

practicable place of landing was abbaticd. The island vantages 

was fotcr or five miles long, with few landing places, ow- and,might 

ing to the rapids. An enemj^ at the foot of the rapids, '^''^^ 

greatly an- 

might have annoyed the flotilla very much, without being noyed the 
expiised. flonUa. 

30th ®^. — Would not the situation of that island enable 
a bod) of men, with small arms and artillery, to com- 
mand the passage of the Saut? or greatly to injure, what- 
ever miglit attempt to pass ? 

J. — They might. 

5ist^ — What caused the enemy, who had occupied 
this island, to abandon it? 

^. — I was informed by some females, on the island. Enemy re- 
that the enemy had retreated, on hearing of the advance q^ hear- 
of our troops, on the British side. It was said, they had i"& of the 

advance of 

a swivel with them. oui- troops 

32rf ^ — Will you be pleased to describe the navigation ontheBri- 

tish Side, 
of the Long Saut ; as to the danger of descending it, and 

the practicability of ascending it, with sails and oars. Is 

there not a passage for boats, on both sides of the island, 

on which the enemy were posted ? 

A. — I considered it dangerous, for tlie kind of craft I 



344 



MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP. 

vn 



Move- 
ment into 
Canada, 
on the 
SOtb 
March, 
i814, con- 
ciiiTi-d in, 
by princi- 
pal offi- 
cers. 

Attack of 
La Cole 
M.ll. de- 
cided i.a 
in a coun- 
cil of war. 



Ijad, and took the precaution, to order ray boats to keep 
thirty yards apart ; but, notwithstanding, three boats got 
together, and one had like to have sunk. My own boat 
was partly filled. Tl»ere is a passage on the other side, 
nsed since the war, but much more difficult, than the one 
on the American shore. 

33d Q. — Did you not accompany General Wilkinson,^ 
into Canada, at the head of your brigade, on the 30th ot 
Mairh, 1814? 

.4—1 <lid. 

3Uh Q. — Was not that movement made on a presump- 
tion, that between, two or three thousand of the enemy, 
had advanced towards the national boundary ; and was it^ 
not made with the approbation, of the general and field 
officers, the officers commanding, consolidated corps and 
regiments, and the chiefs of departments ? 

J — Yes. 

35t/i Q. — Was it not the general expectation, that the 
enemy would meet us in force ; and in case he did not, 
was it not the opinion of the council of war, that we 
should attempt to reduce his post, at La Cole mill? 

j4. — It was. 

SOtli ^ — Did not the enemy meet our advance guards 
near Odietown ? Was he not repulsed? And did he not 
afterwards renews the attack, on your brigade, in such 
forr c and appearance, as to induce you to form your 
lini' ? 

^. — ^Yes. I had one officer and twelve men, killed and 
wounded, in my brigade. 

STth ^ — Did you not, afterwards, countermarch your 
column, and fall into the path to La Cole mill, and ad- 
vance to the attack of the enemy, at that place ? 

^. — I returned, and proceeded to La Cole. 

S8th ^ — Was not the movement to that post, and the 
formation of the troops there, made in strict military 
order ? 

J. — So far as I am competent to judge. 

Sdt/i ^ Did not the enemy make two sorties from the 

mill 5 anu was not a desperate effort made, in one of thera. 



GENERAL AVILKINSON. m& 

to carry our battery; and would he not have succeeded, chap. 
if the battery had not been covered, by our infantry ? ^'"• 

J. — There were two desperate sorties made, in which ^^j^^ ^^^^^ 
the artillery was left without a man; the piece was re- my made 
{^•ained by the infantry, and the enemy repulsed: men pg^^^J^^' 
were supplied from my brigade, to work the gun. sorties. 

40th ^ — Were the troops unnecessarily exposed, that 
day ; and, from the conduct of the enemy, would it liaVe 
been advisable, to demand his surrender, by a flag ? 

^. — They were not unnecessarily exposed. Under the Troops 
circumstances, I now think, it would have been the height unneces- 
of imprudence, to have sent a flag, and very hazardous ^a»"yex- 

^ ., , ... posed— no 

to the one who carried it. jusi fica- 

41si Q. — What was the depth of snow; and was there t'"'\*"'' 

1 I ^ sending a 

not a great and sudden tliaw that day? flag. 

A. — The snow was from six to eighteen inches deep, 
according to situations. In the afternoon and all day, it 
thawed very considerably. Early in the evening it rain- 
ed, and continued incessantly, all night, and the greater 
part of the ensuing day. 

42d Q. — Could the troops have kept their position, be- 
fore La Cole Mill, the ensuing night, without laying down 
in the snow ? 

J. — It would have been extremely disagreeable, to have 
kept it, as they would have been obliged to lay down in 
the snow and wet. 

43d ^. — Were the troops withdrawn, from before the 
enemy's works, at La Cole, under cover of the night, in 
a hasty or disgraceful manner ? And was any thing left 
on the ground? 

Jl. — They were not; they moved in a regular manner, 
before night; nothing was left on the ground ; not a sin- 
gle article, from a knapsack to a broken canteen. 

44th Q. — Was the order, in which the troops retired, 
such as to affect the martial spirit of the soldiers, or 
wound the feelings of the oflicers ; and were not the ope- 
rations of the day, calculated to produce a different im- 
pression ? 



g46 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. J. — It was not. So far as depends upon metliod, re- 
^"' gularity, and military spirit, it was calculated to pro- 
■^..^ro, dure a different impression. 

grade of 45th ^. — Did not the rain and thaw continue the next 
orderly Ts Kiorniiig, and were not numbers of the troo|)s, exposed 
to make to the open air ? Had not the roads become very deep ; 
favourable ^.ud, uuder these impressions, was it not deemed advisa- 
impres- jjle, on a consultation of the general officers, to lead bade 
mind of the troops, to Champlain, ajid its vicinity for quarters? 

the troops. ^q^ Yes. 

46f/i ^.— Was it not reported and believed at this time, 
that a considerable portion of the enemy's flotilla was 
ready for service ? And did not a continued thaw, threat- 
en the breaking up of the ice in the lake ? 

J. — I heard, from different persons, that the flotilla 

was ready to sail. The thaw threatened to break up the 

ice ; and on the 8th of April, when I arrived at Platts- 

burgh, it had broken up. 

Decided 47tli Q. — In this situation of things, our own flotilla 

by a coun- ^jejj^g. ^i\\] unequipped, was it not decided, in a council of 

Cll, to CO- O 1 X 1 

ver Bur- the gene4'al officers, to send off General Macomb, with a 
^'"w"n' detachment to cover our depot at Burlington, and to fall 

and tall * '•' 

back on back, with the rest of the troops, to Chazee, and Platts- 
ammatts- ^urgh, to give security to our magazines at the latter 
burgh, place ? 

J ^Yes. 

^Sth q. — Had not the swell of the water, produced by 
the thaw, carried off several bridges on the road, between 
Champlain and Plattsburgh ; and was there not great 
difficulty, in moving back the artillery ? 

^. — I did not take that road, in consequence of infor- 
mation to that effect; and the road I took, was almost 
impassable, even for a light wagon. 

^9th Q Could the enemy have been cut off from the 

mill, when they sortied, considering the suddenness of 
his advance, and the rapidity of his retreat? 

Jl. — I do not think it was possible. There were very 
few left, after the firing of my brigade. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 24)7 

60th Q.— Was there any reinforcement, during the ac- chap. 
tion? ^"• 

J. — I learnt from a prisoner I examined, that there j^^^rny re- 
was a considerahie reinforcement, witli which he had inforced 

J . ,, ,. during the 

come up, during the action. action 

The court adjourned to Saturday, the 23th of Februa- 
ry, 1815, 10 o'clock, A. M. 

Troy, February QBth, 1815. 
The court convened pursuant to adjournment. 

Major JAMES REES, deputy quarter-master gene- Testlmo- 
ral, of the United States army, was sworn, as a witness "^ ?^ 

•" ' Major 

for the defence, as follows : james 

liees. 

1st Q When did you join General Wilkinson's com- 
mand; in what capacity; and at what time and place? 

.4. — I joined the army, under command of Colonel 
Purdy, at Plattsburgh, the 6tii of January, 1814, as as- 
sistant quarter-master general. General Wilkinson had 
not yet arrived there. 

2rf Q. — Do you recollect, what was the price of trans- 
port, per barrel, from Whitehall to Plattsburgh, and 
from Plattsburgh to French Mills ? 

Ji. — I do not. 

Sd q. — A depot of provisions being once made; when 
it is removed, is it not done at the public expense, for 
the contractor's interest, and by the quarter-master's 
department ? 

wf2. — It is sometimes done by the quarter-master's de- 
partment, at the expense of the United States, and some- 
times, the contractors do it, and charge the United 
States. 

4f/i q — Were tliere not three quarter-masters general 
in the district No. 9, and under which of them did you 
act, or from whom receive orders ? 

«^ — There were two in January, 1814, and I received 
my orders from General Swartwout and Colonel Jen- 



348 



MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP 
VII. 



kins. Previous to this. Colonel Thomas had also acted, 
in this district. 

5th Q Did not Brijajadier-j^eneral Swartwoiit, qiiav- 

ter-master-general, resign his commission, in the winter 
or spring of 181* j and was it not accepted by the secre- 
tary of war. 

w3. — The acceptance was announced in general orders, 
dated, ^^ Adjutant and Inspector GeneraVs Office^ Washing- 
ion, 1st February f 181* ;" an extract from which is in 
the following words : 



Resigna- 
tion of 
qnarter- 
iTi aster 
general 
Swart- 
wout and 
others. 



<( The resignatiouf of Major-general Wade Hampton, 
Brigadier -generals Thomas Parker ^ D. R. Williams , and 
Quarter-master general Robert Swartwoiit, chief of that 
departmentf has been accepted.'* 

I saw General Swartwout, the first week in Septem- 
ber, 1814, and mentioned the fact of his resignation hav- 
ing been accepted, and that the general order to that ef- 
fect, had been published in the encampment, at Platts- 
burgh, the 19th of April, 1814. He replied, it had not 
been accepted, and shewed me a letter from the secretary 
of war f directing him to resume his duties. 

6th Q. — Can you produce the general order, issued 
preparatory to the attack on La Cole ? 

^. — Yes. It was dated at head-quarters, Champlain, 
29th March, 1814.* 

7th Q. — Before the troops marched from Plattsburgh, 
were not a large quantity of boards, sent down to Cha- 
zee, and other articles ; and did you not understand, it 
was with a view to the establishment, of a post at Rouse's 
Point ? 

J Yes. About two hundred thousand feet, were sent 

down on the 26th, 27th, and 28th of March? 

Sth Q. — Was not the ice good the 28th of March, the 
day we left Plattsburgh. 

j4. — It was } we went on the ice with loaded sleighs. 



See Appendix, No. XI. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. M& 

gih q. — Did not a sudden thaw ensue j and did it not cjup. 
continue witliout intermission ? 

A. — It commonrt'd about the 28th, and continued. 

10th Q.—After the troops retired frum Odeltown, the 
j!st of March, was not the ice unsafe, for single horses, 
and had not the roads, become such, as to make it ex- 
tremely difficult, if not impracticable, to bring forward, 
heavy artillery, munitions of war, and the provisions and 
materials necessary to erect, and protect a battery, or 
post, at Rouse's Point, against the enemy? 

^. — It would not bear teams. I cannot say, whether 
it was not sufficient for a single horse. The roads, owing 
to a thaw, were extremely difficult. The teams could not 
take more than half loads; and both going, and return- 
ing, we found a great quantity of water, collected on the 
La Cole road. 

Colonel M'FEELY, of the 25th infantry, was sworn, Testimo- 

ny of 

as a witness, in beiialf of General Wilkinson, and exa- colonel 

rained, as follows : M'Feely, 

2oth inf. 

1st Q. — Was you with General Wilkinson, when the 
troops entered Canada, on the 30th of March, 1814, and 
in what rank ? 

^. — I was : with the rank of Lieutenant-colonel. 

Qd ^. — Was you not fuinished with plans of the march, 
and of battle, before the troops entered Canada; and 
were not those plans strictly adhered to? 

Ji. — I was furnished with a plan, and understood other 
commandants of battalions, were also. So far as I was 
capable of judging, the plan was adhered to, with the ex- 
ception of the reserve, which, according to it, was to 
have been drawn up in one line, but was drawn up in 
two lines, with a view, as I supposed, of covering each 
other alternately, in case we were pressed. 

5d Q. — Did you not bring up tlie rear of the troops, 
when they retired from La Cole Mill : and in what order 
did you relire ? 

VOL. lU, Li 



25@ 



MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP. 
VII. 



^. — With three i-egiments, part of the reserve, I co- 
vered the troops, as they retired from the battle ground. 
This movement, as well as all the movements of that day, 
was conducted in good order, and with regularity. Being 
with my command in the rear, I left the ground last, and 
saw nothing like hurry or confusion. 

4th Q. — Were men, or officers, discouraged, or dis- 
heartened, by ti)e affair at, and near La Gole ? 

J.' — I thought not. 

5th Q. — Did the conduct of General Wilkinson, on the 
30th Marcli, 1814, affect the confidence of the men or 
officers in him ; and would they not, willingly, have 
fought imder his orders the next day ? 

^. — So far, as I had an opportunity of knowing, they 
placed every confidence in General Wilkinson, and would 
\cvy readily, have n)ct the enemy in the field, the next day. 
wi?!^!'!^^^ 6^/i«3 Did you not marcli, from Champlain to Bur- 
son, unim- liugton, the 1st or 2d of April ; and did you not find the 
^^'^'^ ' ice in such a situation, as to be obliged to seek a ferry to 
cross the lake ? 

Jl.—l left Champlain on tlie 3d ; arrived at Platts- 
burgh on the 4th ; found it impassable there, on the ice 
or in boats. I was ordered up to M'Neil's ferry, and 
there crossed in boats. 



Confi- 
dence of 
officers 
and men, 



restlmo- 
ny uf 
Colonel 
Daniel 

Brearly, 
150.1 inf. 



DANIEL BREARLY, Colonel of the 15th regiment 
of infantry, was sworn, as a witness, in behalf of Gene- 
ral Wilkinson, and examined, as follows : 

1st (I. — Did you see a wanton waste, or destruction ot 
provisions, on tiie expedition dow^n the St. Lawrence? 

»4. — 1 saw none. 

0(1 q, — Did you hear, or understand, that General 
Wilkinson, ever made use of language, calculated to en 
courage, or produce su( h vicious conduct? 

Jl. — Never. 

3</ q, — Did you see General Wilkinson, on the morn- 
ing of the 7th of November, and did he appear intoxi- 
cated ? 



GENERAL WILKINSON. SSI 

Jl. — I did see, and converse with him, on the 7th, be- chap, 
fore and about day-light ; he had no appearance of in- ^'^ 
toxication then ; he was sitting by a fire, in the woods, 
hailed me, and asked where my regiment was. Conside- Saw Ge- 

neral VVil- 

rable conversation passed ; but nothing whicli could give icnson, 
me any suspicion, of his being intoxicated. andcon- 

> 1 • ^ versed 

Ath ^. — As far as your observation went, what was Ge- with him, 
neral Wilkinson's conduct, towards men and officers ? °" ^'^^ 

morning 

Ji Perfectly correct, as a commanding general, ac- of the 7tli 

cording to my judgment. ~'^^ ^^'^^ 

o J J rj no appear- 

ance of in- 

^ucstion hij the Court toxicavion, 

Q How many boats were assigned to your regiment, 

at Fort George, and how many were lost ? 

»5. — Fourteen were assigned ; and of these, eight were 
lost the first niglit, as reported to me, by one of my offi- 
cers. Many of the boats of my regiment, were, unsafe, 
when we sailed. 



252 MEMOm& BY 



CHAP. 
VIII. 



CHAPTER VIII. 



Testimony of Colonel Jacob Kii^gsbury Gensral TFii- 

kinsoii's conduct to those under his command. — His orders 
referred to, to shew his discouragement of drunkenness. — 
His coolness and self-possession in action. — Testimony of' 

- Colonel Peter P. Schuyler. — General Wilkinson^ s ge- 
neral conduct in command — Testimony of Colonel Ro-- 
BERT C. Nicholas. — General Witkinson, represents 
Kingston as the object of the campaign.— General IFilkin- 
son not intoxicated on the 6th or 7th of JVovember. — De- 
position of Major Willoughby Morgan. — Transport 
to be collected, after General Wtlkinson^s arrival. Bois- 
terous weather at the end of September^ and 1st cf Octo- 
ber.^— Boats lost, on their voyage to Henderson^s Bay. — • 
Repairs of boats necessarily made there. — Detachment by 
land indispensably necessary. — General Brown engages 
the enemy, on the 10th. — General Boyd detached, to 
lighten the boats, previous to their entering the rapid.—. 

' Cross examination.-— The deposition of John G. Camp 
depnly quarter'master general. — State of the transport 

about the 5 Ih of September fVeather very unfavourable, 

tvith head winds. — General Wilkinson indefatigable in his 
attention, to every branch of the service. — fVaut of trans- 
port, for ordnance stores. — Zeal and exertions of General 
inikinson.— Expedition delayed in September, by the 
surge and head wirids. — General Wilkinson'^s attentions 
to the sick. — Testimony cf Captain Frederick Conk- 
iiN. — Served with the division of the army, tender 
General Hampton. — Objections of the judge advocate, 
overruled by the court. — Sirfficient transport for Ge- 
neral Hampton'' s army, with ten or twelve day^s pro- 
vision. — Teams sn-fficient, to have transported the army, 



1 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 29B 

20 mileSf on a good road. — Cross-examination, — Includes 
in his estimate^ the teams ivhich attended the army, on 
itsjirst arvival at Four Corners. — ^iddiiional question to 
General Bissejll. — JVo difficulty in procuring forage, 
near Four Corners. — Deposition of Colonel James Tho- 
mas, — General Hampton orders extra-transportation to 
be sent to Plattshnrgh. — Could, at all times, furnish trans- 
portation sitfficient for General Hampton^s army. — Be- 
tween 6th and Sth JVovembtr, provisions on hand, eipial 
to supply the army, with bread and flour for forty-five 
days, and salted beef from twenty to thirty days, besides 
live cattle. — Transportation retained, not adequate to the 
removal of necessary stores, c^x. — Deposition of Major 

George Wadsworth Had constantly an abundant 

supply of provisions; cfter the 1st of October, a great 
number of beef cattle. — Cross-examination. — Correspon- 
dence with Commodore Chauncey produced. — Testimo- 
ny of Brigadier-general Moses Porter. — General Wil- 
kinson's attention to the public interest. — His maintenance 
of the rights of the army. — His discouragement of drun- 
kenness and debauchery, — Deficiency of transport at Fort 
George. — Knows of no unnecessary detention of the troops 
there. — Weather generally tempestuous, from the time the 
army left Fort George, until its arrival at French Mills. 
— JVo unnecessary delay, from SackeWs Harbour, to 
Barnhart's. — Jrmy stores wasted, in consequence of their 
being embarked, without proper persons to take charge of 

them Judicious, and correct arrangement of the flotilla. 

—The order and regularity of the flotilla, in the passing 
of Frescott. — His opinion of General Wilkinson. — V(ded 
for the attack on Montreal, on the faith of General Hamp- 
ton's joining. 

s 

JACOB KINGSBURY, Colonel of the 1st regi- chap. 
mcut of infHnl t'v, was sworn, as a witness for the defence, ^^"■ 
and examinei!, as follows : ^ 

Testimo- 
ny of 

1st q. — Flowlonj^ Isave yon served in a military c.apa- K°np^'s^u. 
city M'iih General Wilkinson ? ry, "ist inf 



354j memoirs by 

CHAP. Jl. — ^Twenty-five years. 
^'"' 2f/ ^ — Have you always found liim vigilant, indus- 
trious, and attentive to every branch of the public ser- 
vice, confided to him. 
Ji. — Always. 

Zd ^. — Did he not maintain a uniform system of subor- 
dination and discipline, giving to rank its due, and se- 
curing to the youngest subaltern his rights ? 

Ji He did. 

Ath Q. — Was he attentive to the police, the manners, 
habits, appearance, health and comfort of the soldiery ; 
and did he always discourage, drunkenness, and, de- 
bauchery ? 

.^. — Yes. His orders will show that. 
bth ^.— Did he not always appear, zealously attached 
to the honour of the army, and devoted to the service of 
his country ? 
A. — Always. 

f^th Q — "When the service required, did he spare him- 
self from subaltern duties ? 

J. — He never spared himself from necessary duties. 
7th Q. — Have you seen General Wilkinson in action ; 
and if so, will you say, whether he appeared flustered or 
alarmed, or cool, self-possessed, and regardless of his 
person ? 
General J. — I was in action with him, on the twentieth An- 

son's cool- §.'"st, 179*. against the Indians. He appeared cool, and 
Bess, and self-possessed ; and, I thought, exposed himself more 
sessK)Tin t'^^" neccssary. His aid-de-camp w^as shot through the 
action. body, and his waiter through the neck, in tliat engage- 
ment. 



Testimo- PETER P. SCHUYLER, Colonel of the 13th regi- 

ny of 

Colonel ment of United States infantry, was sworn, as a wit- 
Peter p, ijggg j,^ belialf of General Wilkinson, and examined, as 

Schuyler. 

follows : 

±st ^.— How long have you served in a military capa- 
city, with General Wilkinson ? 



GENERAL WILKINSON. S55 

Ji, — Between seventeen and eighteen years. chap. 

<2,d Q^. — Have you always found him vigilant, indus- ^ "^' 
trious, and attentive to every branch of the public ser- 
vice, confided to him ? 

Ji. — Invariably so. 

3d Q. — Did he not maintain, an uniform system of General 
subordination and discipline j giving to rank its due, and go^-g jig. 
securing to the youngest subaltern, his right ? courage- 

J. — Always, as far as came within my observation, drunken- 

i>th Q. — Was he attentive to the polu e, the manners, "^^^ and 
habits, appearance, health and comfort of the soldiery ', ,y " 
and did he not always discourage, drunkenness, and, de- 
bauchery ? 

A. — Always. 

5th Q. — Did he not always appear, zealously attached 
to tlie honour of the army, and devoted to tiie service of 
his country ? 

A. — Particularly so. 

Qtli ^. — When the service required, did he spare him- 
self from subaltern duties ? 

.4.— I never knew him to spare himself from any duty. 

ROBERT C. NICHOLAS, Lieutenant-colonel of the Testim». 
SOth regiment, of United States infantry, was sworn, as 'jjg^^ Col 
a witness, fur the defence, and examined, as fallows : Robert c. 

Nicholas. 

1st (^. — Was you at Fort George, when General Wil- 
kinson arrived there, in September, 1813, and in what 
rank ? 

Ji. — I was Major of the 12th regiment of infantry. 

9A Q. — Was you not a member of a cixmcil of war, 
held there ; and did you not understand, from the exj)o- 
sition of General Wilkinson, that the taking of Kingston., 
constituted tlie great object of the campaign ? 

JI. — I was a member of that council ; concurred in the 
opinion given ; tlie object, as therein represented by Ge- 
neral Wilkinson, was the taking of Kingston.* 

* See Appendix, No. X^^- 



10$ MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. Sd Q. — When General Wilkinson reached Fort George, 
^^'^ was not our squadron, with Commodore Chauncey, in 
Niagara river; and was not the British squadron off the 
mouth of tliat river, and did it not continue on that sta- 
tion a number of days ? 

^. — Our squadron was then in Niagara river. I re- 
collect nothing further. 

ah Q. — Did you descend the St. Lawrence, with Gene- 
ral Wilkinson, In 1813, and in what capacity ? 

.4. — I did, as one of his aids. 

Sth Q. — Did you observe any waste, or destruction of 
provisions, by the troops, on the voyage ? 

.4. — None. 

Qth Q. — Did you ever hear, or know of General Wil- 
kinson, using language cah ulated to encourage, or pro- 
duce, such unwarrantable conduct ? 

J. — Never. 

7th Q. — Did you witness a day's unnecessary dela} 
in moving from Sackctt's Harbour to French Mills? 

^. — There appeared to me no unnecessary delay. 

Sth ^. — Do yon recollect, the situation of the flotilla, 
above Ogdensburgh, the night of the 5th of November, 
1813? 

J The order of movement was considerably de- 
ranged, the night we reached the landing, above Ogdens- 
burgh. 

gfli q. — Could tlie flotilla, have passed Prescott, that 
night, in order, and safety ? 

Ji. — I do not feel competent to answer. 

10th q. — Did you see Colonel King, on board of Ge- 
neral Wilkinson's schooner, the 6th of November? How 
long did he stay ? Were you near them ? Did General 
Wilkinson appear to hold any piivate, or interesting 
conversation, with Colonel King? And did not tlie Colo- 
nel, rei eive a letter from General Wilkinson, to be con- 
veyed to General Hampton ? 
y A. — I saw Colonel King, on board of General Wil- 

kinson's boat, the day preceding the night, of the passing 
of Prescott. I do not recollect, how long he staid. His 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 257 

conversation with General Wilkinson, appeared very chap. 
short; nothing ran re, as I recollect, than a passin,^ sa- ' ' 
lute, as he entered the hoat. I was on the opposite side 
of the deck. I did not see Colonel King receive a letter, 
from General Wilkinson. When he entered the boat, L 
thiuk, General Wilkinson was writing, or dictating, and 
no conversation passed then. What he did afterwards, 
or how long he staid, I do not know. Colonel King be- 
ing a stranger to me, the circumstances made very little 
impression on me. 

11th ^. — Did you see. Colonels Scott and Gaines, visit 
General Wilkinson, the 6th of November, and did not 
the General appear surprised, and rejoiced at their arri- 
val ? And what passed ? 

*?. — I met Colonels Scott and Gaines, at General 
Swartwout's boat, and accompanied them on their first 
visit, to General Wilkinson. He appeared surprised, and 
very much rejoiced to see them, and expressed this re- 
peatedly, especially to Colonel Gaines, congratulating 
him on tlie successful termination of one campaign,* and 
his taking command of one of the best regiments in the 
expedition. 

12th ^, — Did you see General Wilkinson, in tiie after- ^'cneral 
noon of the 6th of November, and was he intoxicated? not intoxi- 

d. — 1 saw General Wilkinson, and he was not intoxi- cuted, on 

, the night 

C'dli'd, of the 6th, 

loth Q. — Did you see him, the morning of the 7th, and «i' '^o'""- 
. , . , , X- -, in<^ot'the 

was he intoxicated at that time i 7tii. 

Ji. — 1 saw him on the morning of the 7th, — lie was not 
then intoxicated. 

±Mh ^ — Did you carry any orders, from General 
WilkinsdH, on the 5th, 6th, or 7th of November, and what 
were they ? 

w3. — I recollect carrying orders to General Swartwout, 
the night before pai^sing Presrott. 

±5th Q. — Did you not see bodies of armed men, with 
artillery on the Canadian shore, on the 7th ? 

• He had been with General Harrison, and was promoted to the 
55th re.snment of infantsy. 

vojL. liL ^ Kk 



S58 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. ./? I (lid. General Wilkinson's boat was fired at, 

^^" and the fire returned, from our gun boats. 

The witness, on his cross examination, by the judge 
advocate, stated, 

That he does not recollect the time, when Colonel 
King came on board, of Gen. Wilkinson's schooner; nor 
whether it was before, or after dinner, on the 6th. It 
made little impression on him, but he believes, it was be- 
fore they had dined. He only saw him on board once; 
and at no time, observed General Wilkinson and Colo- 
nel King, seated in the stern of the schooner, taking 
wine. When he saw Colonel King, he was not near Ge- 
neral Wilkinson, nor does he recollect, that the former 
sat by him at all. lie further stated, tljat he docs not 
recollect, seeing Colonel King, at the moment of his de- 
parture from tlie schooner. It was late in the evening, 
when he accompanied Colonels Gaines and Scott, and he 
continued near General Wilkinson, until the latter, went 
into his gig. He seemed to be in perfect possession of 
all his faculties, and no way disqualified for command. 
Early on the morning of the 7th, about sunrise, or a lit- 
tle after, he again saw General Wilkinson, and he was 
then, in no way disqualified, by any thing he had drank. 

DeposU The deposition of Major WILLOUGHB Y MORGAN, 

Ari'ior ^^ *'^^ ^^^'^ regiment infantry, was produced, and read 
Wiiioiigh- in evidence, on the part of Gen. Wilkinson, as follows : 

J by Mor- 
gan. 

1st ^. — Were you at Fort George, in September, 1813, 
and what was your rank ? 

Jl. — I was at 1^ ort George in the year 1813, and Major 
of the 12th infantry. 

2d q. — When did General Wilkinson reach that post, 
and what was his health at the time? 

ji, — jsiy recollection of dates, and places, is not very 
perfect, not having kept a journal. General Wilkinson, 
arrived some time in September, and was in a bad state 
of health. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 259 

Sd Q. — Be pleased to say, what was the then state of chap. 
the water craft, at that place, as to its condition, and the ^"*" 
number of men it was capable of transporting, on Lake 
Ontario, with their arms, ammunition, and accoutre- 
ments, clotliing, bag-gage, camp utensils, and fifteen days 
provisions ? 

w3. — I cannot speak with precision, or confidence on Transport 

*^ * was to be 

this subject. I think the greatest portion of transporta- collected, 

lion w as to be collected, after General Wilkinson's ar- '^^^^^. 9.*;' 

' iieral Wil- 

rival. kinson's 

4th Q. — Can you say, what appeared to be the conduct, "^"'^*- 
of General Wilkinson, after his arrival at Fort George, 
in respect to the sick, the clothing, and equipping the 
troops, for a movement, and preparing boats for their 
transportation ? 

^. — The sick were inspected, and ordered to be sent 
off, and returns ordered to be made out for clothing. 

5th ^. Do you recollect, w hat was the weatlier gene- 
rally, from the i20th of September, to the 4th of Oc- 
tober? 

J. — Towards the close of the month of September, and At the 

close 01 

1st of October, to the best of my recollection, the weather ii,e month 

was generally boisterous, or the winds blew freshly ^^^^P'^™' 

a-head. istofOc- 

6th Q. — At what period, were the boats in readiness to ^°^^^> 
^ * , weather 

receive the troops, and was there any obstruction from boiste- 
the winds, to their sailing ? '^^^^ held 

A. — The boats were in readiness, towards the close of winds. 
September, and the troops in readiness to embark. The 
sailing was retarded by contrary winds. 

7th Q. — Were not several attempts made, to send oft* 
the troops, by detachments ? And wliat was the eft'ect, be 
pleased to describe, particularly? 

»^. — I do not recollect, but one attempt, when the winds 
were high and a-head, and the flotilla was ordered to re- 
turn. 

8th Q. — Was any unnecessary delay made, after a suf- 
ficiency of transport was collected, to press the troops 
into, with their bagga<gc and provisiousr Was there a 



260 



MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP. 

vm 



Some of 
the boats, 
OH Uieii' 
vvyy to 
Hi nder- 
siin's Bay, 
were lost ; 
and p.irt 
of the 15th 
reg-itnent 
^vere nbli- 
ged to 
marcli 
from near 
Eighteen 
Mil- 
Creek. 



sufficiency of transport at last ? And were not the boats 
crowded and overloaded? 

A. — To jiide;e whether there was any unnecessary de- 
lay, would require a more enlarged view, than 1 possess- 
ed. I heard much complaint, with respect to limited 
transportation, and crowdinji; the troops, 

9th q. — Will you describe the passage of the troops, 
from Fort George to Henderson's Bay ? And was it possi- 
ble for any one officer, to supcrint nd the movement of the 
whole? Difl you see General Wilkinson on that passage, 
and where? 

A. — The weather was generally tempestuous, or the 
winds a-head. The flotilla was greatly dispersed. It 
was not possible even for regiments to keep together. I 
do not think, that any one officer, could superintend such 
a movpmcnt. I did not see General Wilkinson on the 
passage. It was scarcely possible, with a tolerable fresh 
head wind, even with the aid of poles, to get the heavy 
boats along. 

lOth ^. — What is the safest and most expeditious mode, 
of moving a body of troops coastwise, on Lake Ontario, 
in such craft as was furnished, at Fort George? 

^. — By detachnjents : the smaller the hotter. 

lUh Q. — At what time did the rear of the troops, from 
Fort George, arrive at Henderson's Bay ? Were not many 
boats lost, and others damaged. 

ji.--l cannot recollect, what day the rear of the boats 
arrived at Henderson's Bay. Some boats were lost, and 
many damaged. A great part of the 15th infantry, were 
obliged to march, from nc ar Eighteen Mile Creek, in 
consequence of the loss of ihcir boats. 

V2th Q. — In wiiat condition, did the troops, arrive at 
Henderson's Bay, in respect to clothing, arms, ammuni- 
tion, and provisions ? 

^. — Winter clothing Nvas much wanted. The guns 
and accoutremeiits, out of order, being much exposed on 
the passage. The '^orjis were generally out of provi- 
sions, and were obliged to send to the Harbour for a supply. 

iSth Q,~~D'u\ it not become necessary, at Henderson's 



GENERAL WILKINSON. S6l 

Bay, to make a general repair of the boats, and to fur- chap. 
nish others to supply the place of those lost; and also to ^'i'' 
furnish provisions, and other articles to the troops ? 

Ji. — Repairs of boats, were necessary, and were made Repairs of 
there, to a considerable ex ent. I iinow not what num- cessai'ly 
ber of boats were furnished at that place. Provisions "^ '^« ^t 
were to be supplied, as I have stated. son's Bay. 

l^th Q. — Was any delay made, after tlie repair of the 
boats, and the weather permitted, in sailing for Grena- 
dier Island? What happened on the passage, and in what 
condition did the troops reach that island? 

A.< — My impression is, that there was as little delay at 
this place as possible. After the boats reached tiie island, 
many still wanted repairs, and the arais to be put in 
battle order. 

\5th Q. — Can you say, what was the general state of 
the weather, from the time you reached Henderson's Bay, 
until the 2d of November ? 

Ji. — Not particularly. There was a good deal of rain, 
and bad weather. 

IQth Q. — Was any unnecessary delay made at Grena- 
dier Island ? And how were the troops, occupied at that 
place ? When did you sail for French Creek, on the St. 
Lawrence ? And what were the circumstances of the pas- 
sage ? 

A. — My information is not sufficiently extensive, or 
precise, to enable me to answer the question, with re- 
spect to delay at this place. During the stay at Grena- 
dier Island, the troops were occupied in putting their 
arms in good order ; in procuring clnthing, in distribut- 
ing provisions in the different boats, and in collecting the 
scattered, and stranded boats of the flotilla, from the 
Harbour. 

17th Q. — Was any delay made at French Creek, or in 
descending the St. Lawrence river? Was not the or- 
der, for the movement of the boats, regulated by General 
Wilkinson, and plans thereof, furnished to the officers 
commanding corps, and signal flags also distributed ? 



S6S MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, A. — As to delay, my information, or observation, does 
VIII. jjjj^ enable me to answer. The order of the movement 
of the boats, was regulated by general order. The plans 
furnislied, and signal flags distributed. 

18if/i Q Will you describe the first day's movement, 

from French Creek, and inform the court, where, and at 
what time, the flotilla came to ? Did not much confusion 
and disorder ensue, after dark, among the boats, and 
did not this circumstance make a halt necessary ? 

A, — My impression is, that the flotilla moved in good 
order, and in the mode prescribed in the general order, 
and came to in the night, a few miles above Prescott. 
Some confusion and disorder, resulted from the darkness 
of the night, and appeared to me to render a halt neces- 
sary. 

19f/i Q. — Were not the boats found in the morning, to 
be much intermixed, and the regiments and brigades se- 
parated ? 

J{. — The situation of the flotilla, to the best of my re- 
collection, was such as described in the question. 

20i/i Q. — ^Did you see. General Wilkinson, on the 6th 
of November , at what place, and hour ; and what ap- 
peared to be his condition, as to health and temperance ? 

Jl. — I do not recollect, to have seen General Wilkin- 
son, at the time mentioned in this interrogatory. 

21si Q. — Were not dispositions made on the 6th of No- 
vember, for passing the enemy's post? Will you describe 
what they were, and say, with what loss this operation 
was effected ? 

A, — I cannot recollect the day, when the dispositions 
were made. I think it was the day, ensuing the night, 
we arrived above that place. The boats were arranged 
in different divisions, and to each division, an officer was 
assigned. The boats were to pass after each other, al- 
lowing some interval. The army, except sufficient to 
navigate the boats, were marched by land. Most of the 
Small loss ammunition, was also sent by land. Very few men were 
Prescott!^ lost, in passing this post. Perhaps, not more than three 



GENERAIi WILKINSON. 263 

Of four ; and no boats test, except, perhaps, an ordnance chap. 
boat. V"i- 

22d Q. — Did you see the General on the next day, and 
what was his condition, as to health and temperance? 

J. — I do not recollect, to have seen General Wilkinson, 
on the ensuing day. 

Q3d Q. — Was tliere any unnecessary delay, of the 
troops, at the rendezvous, below Prescott ? And did not 
General Wilkinson, move the same day 2 

A. — It does not appear to me, there was any unneces- 
sary delay, at this place. General Wilkinson moved the 
same day with the army. 

24^/t ^. — Where was the next rendezvous, of the 
troops, and what occurred that day ? 

•9. — At the White House. The dragoons commenced 
crossing that day. 

25th ^ — In descending the St. Lawrence, with troops 
in boats, what would be the effect of the fire of cannon, 
or musketry upon them, from the banks of the river? 
Was General Wilkinson's boat fired at, by two pieces of 
artillery, the day before, while descending the first rapid, 
or afterwards ? Did it not appear, that the inhabitants of 
Canada, were hostile to a man, and was it not reported, 
they had lined the bank of the river below, with intention 
to harass and gall the troops, on their passage down ? 

^. — The boats, in many places, could be reached by 
musketry, and, of course, by artillery. I heard, that 
General Wilkinson's boat was fired at, by artillery. I 
saw, on passing down the river, troops with arms, which 
I took for militia. They had been driven from Fort 
Matilda, by Colonel Macomb's command. 

QQth ^ — Under such circumstances, was it necessary 
to the safety of the troops, on board the boats, to make a 
detachment by land, to scour, and keep the coast clear? 

^. — I supposed, fi'oni the narrowness of the river, a Detach- 
detachment upon land, to clear the shore, was indispen- ^^^^^ j^^ 
sably necessary. dispensa- 

^7th ^.— In that part of the St. Lawence, does not the sjjy"^''^*' 



26* MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, current run twice the distance, men can march in a given 
^"^- time? 

J. — In that part of the river, the current carries boats, 
much faster than troops can march. 

28^/i Q Do you recollect, any thing of the enemy ap- 
pearing, on the rear of the army, at the Wliite House? 
And did any unnecessary delay, take place there? 

A. — I recollect, that tlie enemy appeared in the rear, 
. about dawn of day, opposite the White House. It did 
not appear to me, that there was any unnecessary delay, 
at that place. 

'29th ^. — Was not Brigadier-general Brown detached, 
to scour the coast on the Long Saut, and dislodge the 
enemy from a block house on the Saut, said to be occu- 
pied for the purpose of annoying the troops, in the des- 
cent of that rapid ? 
.J.—Yes. 
General SOfA ((. — Was not Genera! Brown engaged at that 
el^eTon P^^^c, by the enemy, about noon on the 10th of Novem- 
the loth. her; and did you not hear the firing ? And did you erer 
learn, by what number he was attacked ? 

^. — General Brown was engaged that day, in advance, 
and I heard the firing distinctly. I do not recollect to 
have heard, what force opposed him. 

31sf Q. — Brigadier-general Boyd being ordered to 

march, with a detachment to lighten the batteaux, in their 

passage of the Long Saut ; if the flotilla had put off, and 

entered tliat rapid, on the 10th, could it have furnished 

him any support, if he had been attacked by the column 

of the enemy, which hung on the rear? 

General -^^ — Brigadier-general Boyd was detached, to lighten 

uchtd to *''^ ^"^*^^ before they should enter the Long Saut. After 

li},-hten the boats should have entered that rapid, I cannot think 

prev'^iofs'' ^^ possible, they could afford General Boyd's column any 

to their aid, if he had been attacked by an enemy on the rear. 

the^ripfcl. -'^'^ ^ — ^^' *'^^ ^^^*« *>^<' entered the Saut, before the 
event of General Brown's conflict was known, and he 
had been repulsed, and the enemy had at the same time. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 265 

occupied an island on the Saiit, would not the flotilla and chap. 
the troops, have heen exposed to much peril ? \^r-v'->-^ 

^. — To this interrogatory, I answer in the aflSrmalive. 

S5d Q. — Did it appear to you, that the enemy hung 
on our rear, with the intention to attack us, by land 
and by water, at the moment the flotilla should sepa- 
rate, from the detachment on shore, to enter the Long 
Saut? 

A. — It is possible, they might have that intention. 

o'l'th ((. — What, in your judgment, would have been 
the eflect of such an attack ; our boats being unable to 
defend themselves, against heavy gallics and gun boats j 
and the detachment being attacked by superior force ? 

A, — I should suppose the result would be most disas- 
trous. 

35f/i Q. — Did you see, or hear of any provisions being 
destroyed, or wasted by the troops, in the descent of the 
St. Lawrence ? 

A. — I do not recollect that I did. 

5Qth Q. — Did you ever hear, of General Wilkinson 
maltreating either oflicer or soldier? Or by word or deed, 
abusing the service of his country ? And as far as your 
observation enables you to say, what was his conduct, as 
a gentleman, and an oificer, while you served under 
him ? 

ji, — I never did hear that. General Wilkinson, ever 
maltreated his oflicers or soldiers. Or by word or deed, 
abused the service of his country. As a gentleman and 
an officer, General Wilkinson appeared to possess the 
respect and esteem of liis officers. 

WILLOUGHBY MORGAN, 
Major IQth infantry. 

Major Willoughby Morgan, being cross-examined, on 
the part of the prosecution, deposed, and said. 

That a day or two, before the actual sailing of the di- 
vision of troops, from Fort George, a detacliment, con- 
sisting of the 5th, 12th, 13th, and 20th, regiments ©f in- 
VOL. III. L 1 



^66 



MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP. 
VIII. 



fantry, and the rifle corps, embarked in the afternoon, 
proreeded five or six miles; but they found it difficult to 
advance, on account of the hi,^h head winds; and Colonel 
Pinkney, aid to General Wilkinson, brought an order for 
their return, which they accordingly executed, and again 
disembarked. A little before the dawn of the next day, 
the troops were drawn up in different divisions, for the 
purpose of meeting the enemy, if they should attempt to 
advance against us. General Boyd commanded a force 
towards Queenstown, and General Wilkinson was with 
a force towards the enemy's position. No enemy, how- 
ever appeared; nor did the witness perceive, any indica- 
tions, of an attack from them. The morning, he thinks, 
was calm, but the winds, about this time, were variable. 
WILLOUGHBY MORGAN, 

Major ±9.111 Infantry. 

Sworn this 7t!i day of February, 1815, before me, 

E. A. BANCKER, Judge Advocate. 

The deposition of JOHN G. CxiMP, deputy quarter- 
master general, taken by consent, was iijtroduced, and 
read in evidence, as follows : 



Most of 
the boats 
wanted 
repairs. 



Weather 
very unfa- 
vourable. 



\st ^ — What was the state of the transport, at Fort 
George, on General Wilkinson's arrival there, about the 
5th of September, 1813 ? 

ji, — Very bad ; most of the boats wanting considerable 
repairs, before it was safe, to embark on board of them. 

2rf ^. — After the boats were repaired, what was the 
state of tlie weather, till the troops sailed for Sackett's 
Harbour ? 

A. — Very unfavourable to the expedition ; the wind al- 
most constantly a-head, till the day of embarkation, say 
1st of October. 

3rf ^. — What was the state of. General Wilkinson's, 
health, whilst at Fort George ? 

A. — I thought him considerably indisposed, the greater 
part of his stay at that place. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. g67 

4th .^.— Was not General Wilkinson, indefatigable in chap. 
his attention, to every branch of the public service ? ^"^' 

^ — I considered hiui so, being myself daily, and al- consider- 

most hourly, pressed by him, to facilitate the completion ed Gene- 

of the boats, and to have every branch of my department, ktnson in- 

in a complete state of readiness for embarkation. defatijfa- 

ble. 
5th Q. — Was tliere any unnecessary delay, at Fort 

George, after the boats were ready, and the winds fa- 
vourable ? 

J. — None. 

6th Q. — What time, did General M'Clure's militia, ar- 
rive at Fort George ? 

Ji. — I think, between the 25th and 30th of September. 

7th ^. — Did not the troops encamp on the beach, near 
their boats, for several days, waiting for a fair wind ? 

.3.--They did. 

Sth Q. — Did not the squadron, take on board, a large Want of 
quantity of ordnance stores, cannon, &c. for which the for ord- 

quarter-master general, could not furnish transport ? nance 

^~—.-m , -. Stores* 

w3.— They did. 

9th Q. — Was not a quantity of powder, say 130 bar- 
rels, brought from the arsenal at the Eleven Mile Wood, 
for the use of the expedition ,• and was it not sent back; 
for want of transport ? 

^. — There were 122 barrels brought from that ar- ^"^ (^"^ 
- 1 1 ,. , . , ' . , ,. . powder. 

senal; 52 barrels of wliich, were put on board ot the 

fleet; the remaining 70 were sent back, for want of 

transport. 

10th ^. — Generally, what was your opinion of the ex- 
ertions, of General Wilkinson, considering his ill health, 
and debility ? 

J. — 1 considered tlie exertions of the General, and his 
uniform zeal for the public welfare, such as to entitle 
him, not only to the confidence, but the gratitude of all 
concerned. 

Cross-examined by the Judge Advocate. 

^ — After the transports were ready, at Fort George, 
was theie any period in the month of September^ iti 



ass MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, which the boats might have put out ,• and it' not, what 
^^^^' was the reason ? 
E\jedi *^' — ^^ ^^^ impossible for them to go out, with safety 

tion could to the expedition, in consequence of the surge, and al' 
proceecTed w^st constant head winds. 

with safe- ^ — Did not a part of the transports sail, and proceed 
tember! Some distance, and afterwards return to Fort George ? 
^ They did. My impressions are, that they re- 
turned in consequence of, the roughness of the sea. 

JOHN G. CAMP. 

Sworn before me, this 13th day of February, 1815, 

E. A. BANCKER, 

Judge j^dvocatc. 

Mditional question to Doctor Bull. 

^ — What was the attention of General Wilkinson, to 
the sick and vsounded? 
General ^. — Always very exemplary. He has frequently sent 

son's at- "^*^' *^ ^'^^^ ^^^^ officers, a considerable distance ; and 
tentons officers in this condition, had free access to his stores, 
exempla- He took General Covington on board of his boat, after 
ry- he was wounded. 

Testimo- FREDERICK CONKLIN, Captain of the 4th regi- 
^ °, ■ ment of United States infantry, being sworn, as a wit- 
CoHblm. ness for the defence, was examined, as follows : 

1st Q.— Did you serve in the quarter-master's depart- 
ment, of the division of the army, commanded by Major- 
general Hampton ? 

w3. — I did; as assistant deputy quarter-master. 

2d Q. — Do you recollect the period, when Colonel King 
returned from Ogdensburgh, or the upper country, to 
Chateaugay, then General Hampton's headquarters ? 

^. — I cannot say that I do. It was after our return, 
ft'om descending the Chateaugay 5 I presume at the Four 
Corners. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. ^69 

Sd Q.— Was the quarter-master general's depart- chap. 
inent, at that time, in a situation to liave taken up, the ,^^.^,J, 
baggage and provisions, of General Hampton's division, 
and transfer it to tlie French Mills, on the route to St. 
Regis. 

The iudare advocate opposed all enquiry into these ^'^j^c- 
, . r. . ,. . . tions of 

points, chieJBy on the ground, ot its tending to criminate the judge 

a third person. advocate. 

The Judge advocate opposed the admission, of the ad- 
ditional questions to General Bissell; also the deposi- 
tions of Colonel Thomas, and Major Wadsvvorth, imme- 
diately succeeding, the examination of Captain Conklin. 

The court deferred deciding upon the questions, but ^^^ ^^"■''^ 

\ overrules 

finally determined, that the whole should be received : the judge 

whereupon, the witness replied as follows : advocate's 

lions. 

J. — I should say, that the time the army returned, to Sufficient 
the Four Corners, the public and private teams which for'cene'^ 
accompanied it, were sufficient to have transported, toralHamp- 
any place, the army, with, perhaps, ten or twelve day's my^^y^ith 
provision, exclusive of the live cattle ; but they were not lo or 12 
adequate, to the removal of the whole stock of provisions, vi^sions/ 
The transportation we had, at that time, was not all at 
the Four Corners ; some of it was on the road to Platts- 
burgh. 

^th Q. — What time would it have required, to perform 
this service ? 

Jl. — I do not know the exact distance; if twenty -five 
miles, it would have taken three days. 

5th Q. — How many teams, of all kinds, had you at 
Chateaugay ; and how many teams, could you have col- 
lected, in that quarter, including Malone, and the circum- 
jacent towns, in two or three days ? 

^. — At the time the army moved, from the Four Cor- 
ners, we had 2 two-horse wagons, to an average of one 
Imndred men, or one four-ox wagon. I cannot say pre- 
cisely, how many wagons, we might have procured ,• per- 
haps forty or fifty, two-horse wagons, in three days. I 



270 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, did, at one time, collect thirty wagon.s in a day, but these 

"V III- were again discharged. In the march of the army, from 

*'^"^^^**'^ Four Corners to Cliazee, some of the oxen gave out, and 

some of the tents were left behind. 
Teams 6th Q. — Would not the teams haA-e been sufficient, to 

sufficient 1^^^^^^ tran.sported the army, twenty miles, on a good 

transport, road ? 

ed the ar- j^ — jf j^ j^j^j ^^^^ ^ p.^Qj| pq^^j j [j^yg ^^ jjiga, they 

mv 20 "^ 

miles on a would have failed. 

good road. 

The witness, on his cross-examination, by the judge 
advocate, stated. 

That he does not recollect, the precise day, when the 
army arrived at the Four Corners, but it was early in 
November. After being there, three or four days, part 
of the transportation was sent to Plattsburgh. Among 
others, twelve large wagons, with ox teams, carried the 
sick and wounded. Before the army moved to Chazee, 
two-thirds of the transportation had been sent off; and 
one cause of this, as represented at the time, was scarci- 
ty of forage. 

Q, — When you state, that there was transportation 
sufficient with the army, to remove it together, with 
eight or ten days provisions, do you mean to include all 
the public and private teams, which attended the army, 
on its first arrival at the Four Corners ? 

^.— I do. 

q, — Do you recollect, the day the army left the Four 
Corners , and what provisions they carried with them ? 

J. — I do not; but they carried no provisions with 
them. 

q. — Was all the transportation employed for this re- 
moval ? 

»4. — The greater part ; not all. 

Additional questions to General Bissell. 
^. — When did you reach the Four Corners, and in 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 271 

what condition was the road, from the French Mills, to chap. 
that place ? '^'"i- 

A, — [ reached the Four Corners, with my regiment, ^^dition- 
on the 15th November, 1813. "We found the marching al ques- 
generally dry. The roads frozen, and part of the way General 
sandy. For a few miles through the wood, the frost in BisseiK 
many places yielded, and loaded wagons sunk through. 

Q. — What was the situation of the adjacent country, 
for forage, particularly for hay ? 

A» — My quarter-masterpurchased, a considerable quan- 
tity of hay and corn, within three miles of the Four Cor- 
ners. I had a number of horses with my command, but No diffi- 
found no difficulty in procwring supplies for them. prociirinir 

forage. 

The deposition of JAMES THOMAS, Colonel, and comfrr"" 
Quarter-master general, was produced, and read in evi- 
dence, for the defence, as follows : 

I, James Thomas, Colonel, and Quarter-master gene- 
ral, in the service of the United States, do depose, and 
say, that in the year 1813, 1 served, during the campaign, 
with tlic division of the army, under the command of Ma- 
jor-general Hampton, as Quarter-master general, and 
chief of that department. That when the army return- 
ed from Ormstown, in Lower Canada, it was encamped, 
at Ciiateaugay Four Corners; that in the month of No- 
Tember, and prior to the 6th of the said month. General 
Hampton ordered all extra transportation, of the quar- 
ter-master general's department, to be sent to Piatis- 
burgh, retaining such only, as should be competent, to 
transport tl»e equipage, j.nd most necessary stores of the 
army ; that there was always on hand, full supplies of 
hard bread, flour, salted pork and beef, and beef cattle 
for the army. And that 1 was always competent to fur- 
nish means of transportation, to the said army, wherever 
it might liave been ordered to move. As well after, as 
before the order of Major-general Wilkinson, to the said 
General Hampton, to join him on the St. Lawience. 

JAMES THOMAS, 

Hoi. and q, M, Gen. 



ays MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. On his cross-examination, by the judge advocate, Colo- 
^"^' nel James Thomas, Quarter-master general, stated, that 
Between ^^^twecn the 6th and 8th of November, 1813, the provi- 
6th and sions on hand, while the army was at Chateaugay, were 
s^ons^on ' adequate for the supply and subsistence of the troops, 
hand, 3uf- under the actual command of Major-general Hampton, 
supply the ^^ ^^^^ following proportion: to wit, bread and flour for 
army. forty-five days. Salted pork and beef from twenty to 
thirty days. One hundred and thirty head of fat cattle, 
and two hundred more within a day's march of the post.. 
That the transportation retained with the army, at the 
time before stated, was not competent, to have removed 
the equipage, and most necessary stores for the troops, 
together, with all the supply of provisions above enume- 
rated. 

JAMES THOMAS. 



Sworn before me, this 28tb of January, 1815. 

EVERT A. BANCKER, 

Judge Advocate. 

The deposition of Major GEORGE WADSWORTH, 
was next produced, and read in evidence, for the defence;, 
as follows : 

I, George Wadswortb, an assistant commissary, in the 
service of the United States, do depose and say, that in 
the campaign of 1813, I served in the capacity of issuing 
commissary, of provisions ; and was in the field, with the 
division of the army,commanded by Major-general Hamp- 
ton, and issued to them during their movements, and ope- 
rations on the Champlain frontiiM', from September 20th, 
at Cumberland Head, at Chazee, Champlain, Odeltown, 
in Lower Canada ; thence to Morristown, Chazee, and 
Chateaugay Four Corners;- thence down the Chateaugay 
river, into Lower Canada, and hack to Chateaugay Four 
Corners, Morristown, Chazee, and Plattsburgh, closing 
Had con- the issues about the 20th of November. That during 
abmldant" *'"^ *""^' ^ ^^^ Constantly in full supply for the troops, 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 273 

of hard bread, flour, salt pork and beef; and had after chap. 
the first day of October, constantly with the army, a ^"'* 
great number of beef cattle. That about the 10th of No- ^^^^ly ^f 
vember, at the time the army moved, from Chateaugay provi- 
Four Corners, to Plattsburgh, there was in deposit, at the \i\cr the 
former place, forty-five days subsistence of bread and 1st t>ct. 
flour, for the army; besides a considerable quantity ofsjppiyof 
salt pork and beef. And there was with the army, at beef cat- 
that time, and in the vicinity, between seven and eight 
hundred head of fat cattle. 

GEORGE WADSWORTH. 

Assistant Commissary. 

Being cross-examined, on the part of the prosecution, 
the witness stated. 

That the salt pork and beef, in deposit, with General 
Hampton's division of the army, about the 1st of Novem- 
ber, 1813, was adequate for the supply of the troops, 
under his immediate command, for twenty days ; that no 
pai't of the bread, flour, pork, and beef, included in this 
statement, was received after the 4th of November, to ' 
the best of his recollection. That of the fat cattle, about 
one hundred and thirty were with the army. Two hun- 
dred more, within twenty-five or thirty miles of tlie 
camp, and the remainder about seventy-five miles from 
it, with a ferry of about two miles intervening, crossing 
the narrows of Lake Champlain, from Charlotte in Ver- 
mont, to Willsburgh, in the state of New York. That 
when the army left the Four Corners, about the 11th of 
November, four days provisions were issued to the 
troops, and the remainder was left at that place. 

The witness further states, that by refei-ence to data in 
his possession, the beef cattle, before mentioned, would 
have produced about thirty-three thousand rations of 
meat, per hundred head. That about three hundred and 
thirty head, could have been with the army, in one day's 
notice, and the residue within six day's notice. 

GEORGE WADS\yORTH, 

Assistant Commissary, 
VOL. II T, M m 



^y^ MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, Sworn before me, this 2(1 day of February, 1815. 
^ '" EVERT A. BANCKER, 

Judge Advocate* 

The following papers and letters, were next produced, 
and read in evidence, for the defence : 

Corres- i^i^ — Memorandum from General Wilkinson to Com- 

pondence 

w)ih Com. »nodore Chauncey, dated October 1st, 1813, at tovi 
Ch:.iincey Georsre. 

produced, 

%i»dread. 2d. — Commodore Chauncey's answer, of the same 
date. 

3d — General Wilkinson's letter to Commodore Chaun- 
cey, dated at Sackett's Harbour, in the morning of the 
9th of Ortober. 

4th — Commodore Chauncey's answer, of the same 
date. 

5th. — General Wilkinson's letter to Commodore Chaun- 
cey, of the 9th of October, 1813. 

6th. — Commodore Chauncey's answer, of the same 
date. 

7th. — Commodore Chauncey's letter to General Wil- 
kinson, dated October 16th, 1813. 

8th General Wilkinson's answer, of the same date. 

9th. — Commodore Chauncey's letter to General Wil- 
kinson, of the 16th October, P. M. 

10th General Wilkinson's letter to Commodore 

Chauncey, dated French Creek, November 4th, 1813. 

11th. — Commodore Chauncey's answer, of the same 
date. 

^jp* For the preceding letters^ see AppendiXf JSfos. XIII, 
XIV. XV. XVI. XVII. XVIII. XIX. XX. XXI. XXII. 
and XXIil. 

The court adjourned to Monday, the 27th of February, 
1813, 10 o'clock, A. M. 

Troy, Februanj 27th, 1815. 
The court convened pursuant to adjournment. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. ^75 

The judge advocate being prevented from attending, chap. 
by indisposition, the court adjourned to Tuesday, the ^ ' ' 
28th of February, 1815, 10 o'clock, A. M. 

Troy, February 28th, 1815. 
The court convened pursuant to adjournment. 

Brigadier-general MOSES PORTER, of the corps of 
light artillery, was swoin, as a witness for the defence, 
and examined, as follows : 

1st Q. — How long have you served in a military capa- 
city, with General Wilkinson ? 

./f. — Since April, 1793. 

2d Q. — Have you always found him vigilant, indns- General 
trious, and attentive to every branch of the public ser- son's at. 
vice, confided to him ? tention to 

the public 

A. — I have ever found him vigilant, industrious, and interest. 
attentive, to the public interest. 

Sd ^ — Did he not maintain a uniform system, of su- Wis main- 
bordination and discipline; giving to rank its due, and. t^e rights 
securing to the youngest subaltern his right? of the ar- 

^.— He did. "'^' 

4th ^ — Was he attentive to the police, habits, man- ^'^ ^'^' 

^». 1 ' » courage- 

ners, appearance, health, and comfort, of the soldiery? ment of 
And did he not always discourage, drunkenness and de- nessand" 
bauchery ? debauche- 

.^.—Hedid. '>'• 

5th ^ — Did he not always appear zealously attached, 
to the honour of the army, and devoted to the service of 
his country ? 

^, — Always. 

6th ^ — When the service required it, did he spare 
himself subaltern duties? 

ji — I think he did not. 

7th Q. — Did you serve with General Wilkinson, in the 
campaign of 1813 ; and in what capacity ; and where did 
you fall under his orders ? 

X— I served with bim, as Colonel of light artillery. 



276 MEMOIRS BY 

CH\p. and Brigadier-general by brevet; acted under his orders, 
^ '^' from Fort Geoige to French Mills. 

8t}} ^ — Was there not a deficiency of transports, at 
Fort George ; and were we not obliged, in consequence 
of it, to leave behind a quantity of powder, intended for 
the expedition ; and did not tlie squadron take on board, 
several pieces of ordnance, and a large quantity of ord- 
nance stores ? 
Defiriency ^, — There was a deficiency. Seventy barrels of pow- 
portrai der were left, and a lai-ge quantity of shot, put on board 

^"'■^ the squadron, but no ordnance. The boats furnished, 

George. 

were not calculated for the expedition; and one schooner 

carrying ordnance, was found unfit for that service, and 
unloaded. 

9th ^ — Do you know of any false alarm, and conse- 
quent detention of the troops? 

^. — I recollect, there was an alarm at Fort George, a 
day or two before the army left that post. General Wil- 
kinson, in consequence, moved out with the army, in two 
columns, and returned in two houis. 1 know of no un- 
necessary detention of the troops. 

10th ^ — What was the state of the weather, from the 
20th of September, to the 4th of October ? 
Weather J, — The weather was generally tempestuous and bois- 
fempes/ terous, from the time the army left Fort George, until it 
tuotis, arrived at French Mills? 

time thfe ^^^'^ ^ — ^^^ there any unnecessary delay, of the 
army left troops at Fort George ? Were they not hurried in making 

Fort • • 

Geori^e, their equipments; and did they not sail, as soon as the 
until its boats were ready, and the wind would permit ? 
at French -^^ — None to my knowledge. The repairs of the boats 
Mills. were pushed, with all possible despatch, and when in rea- 
diness, the troops embarked, and sailed as soon as the 
wind would permit. 

±2th ^ — Wlien did you arrive at Sarkett's Harbour? 
^. — On the 4th of October, in the same vessel, with 
General Wilkinson. 

lo//i Q. — Were there not four or five battering, long, 
iron 18 pounders, mounted on travelling carriages, cm- 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 277 

barked in scows, by General Wilkinson's order, after his CHAP, 
arrival at Sackett's Harbour? 

A. — Two 5| inch howitzers, and, I think, four long 
eighteen pounders, were mounted, put in scows, and in 
readiness for landing. 

14iA ®. — Did you observe any nnnecessary delay, du- 
ring the expedition down the St. Lawrence, from Sack- 
ett's Harbour to Barnhart's. 

ji, — I moved with the flotilla, and observed no unne- No unne- 

j , cessary 

cessary delay. delaytVom 

15th ^ — Was there not a great deficiency of trans- Sackett's 
port, at Sackett's Harbour? and were not the troops to Barn, 
crowded, in the expedition down the St. Lawrence ? hart's. 

A. — There was a deficiency, and the transports were 
much crowded. 

16f/i ^. — From your observation, can you say, whe- 
ther the public property, and army stores, and provisions 
of every kind, were not loaded on board the boats, with- 
out any regularity j thereby producing great difficulty, 
and delay, in their issues, or application ? And did you 
hear, of any particular persons being appointed, to take 
charge of the public property, thus disposed in the boats? 

A. — I know the army stores, were put on board the Army 
different boats, without proper persons to take charge of wasTed, in 
them, and tliat some were wasted in consequence. conse- 

±7th ^ — When the enemy attacked our camp and flo- uie^*^^ ° 
tilla, at French Creek, what might have been the conse- being em- 
quence, if our eighteen pounders had not been mounted, without 
and placed in battery ? proper 

persons 

Jl. — Most probably, much disaster would have been to tuke 
the consequence; he could have driven us beyond the ^J'^^'"^^ °^ 
range of his shot, and obliged us to abandon our camp. 

l^th ^.-— Will you describe, the order and arrange- 
ment of the flotilla, in the movement from French Creek, 
to the neiglibourhood of Ogdensburgh ? 

A. — I think it was judicious and correct. 

l^th ^ — At what time did you arrive at that place; 
and was it prudent for the flotilla, to have passed the post 
of Prescott, under the cover of that night ? 



%1h 



MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP. 
MIL 



The order 
and regu- 
larity of 
the flotilla 
In the 
passing of 
Prescott. 



His opi- 
nion of 
General 
Wilkm- 
son. 



j1. — I arrived at Morrisville, about 10 or 11 o'clock at 
night, and am of opinion, it would not have been pru- 
dent, to have passed Prescott that night. Some time was 
necessary, to arrange and instruct the flotilla. 

^Qth ^. — Will you be pleased to describe the passage, 
of tlie armament, on the night of the 6th of November, 
by the British post of Prescott? 

A. — I proceeded in my barge, from the rear, to the 
front of the flotilla, while it was passing Prescott, and 
am of opinion, its order and regularity, would do honour 
to any troops. 

9,1st ^ — Did you see General Wilkinson that even- 
ing, or the morning of the 7th of November, and was he 
intoxicated ? 

J. — I did not, to my recollection. 

22d! ^ — From your observation, of the character and 
conduct of General Wilkinson, what is your opinion of 
him, as a man of honour, a gentleman and a Sdldior ? 

A. — I have ever considered him as a man of honour, a 
gentleman, and a soldier ? 

23rf ^. — If you had known at the White House, on the 
8th of November, when the council of war was held, that 
Major-general Hampton, would not have joined the army 
at, or near, St. Regis, would you have favoured the at- 
tack on Montreal ? 

Ji. — I certainly should not. 

^Ath ^ — Is the paper produced, and shewn to you, 
the minutes of a council of war held, at the White House, 
and is your signature to the same ?* 

A, — It is. 

Qiiestion by the Judge Advocate. 

^ — Do you know, what was the enemy's effectrve 
force, in the neiglibourhood of Fort George, at the tirad 
of the alarm ? 

A. — I do not. 



» See Appendix, No. XXIV. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 279 



CHAPTER IX. 

Testimony of Majoi- Robert G.Htte. — 4587 meiif reported 
present at Fort George, 19th September, out of which, 1 165 
7vere sick. — The number of sick diminished, after Gene- 
ral Wilkinson^s arrival. — Sail state of water transport. 
— //i consequence of defciency of transport. Commodore 
Chauncty took troops on board the squadron. — General 
order of JSTov. 6th, 1813. — General Wilkinson not intoxi- 
cated on the night of the 6th. — Instriictions to Colonel Ma- 
comb. — General Brown marches. — Flotilla sails, passes 
General Brown, and reaches the Fellow House before him. 
•—■By order of General Wilkinson, sends a reinforcement to 
General Boyd on the llth.—Skirmish on the 9th. — Conf- 
dence of the army, unimpaired by any act of General Wil- 
kinson. — Cross-examination. — Testimony of Captain J, 
K. Page. — 'Abstract from his diary. — Remarks contain- 
ed therein, made during the expedition, and the result of 
his ow:i observatio7i. — Testimony of Major Alexander 
ScAMMEL Brooks. — State of the weather, from the QOth 
September, to the 7th of October, 1813. — His application 
for powder, Sfc. and Major Brown's answer. — Remon- 
strates on the boats being so much lumbered. — Schooner 
Syren simk. — 4 twenty four, and an eighteen pounder, 
sunk for want of transport. — Entered Canada, with Ge- 
neral Wilkinson, SOth March, 1814. — Ordered by Gene- 
ral Wilkinson, to bring up an eighteen pounder, at La 
Cole Mill. — Order countermanded, in consequence of the 
di^culty experienced, in bringing up a twelve pounder. — 
Cross-examination. — Condition of the carriage of the 
18 pounder described. — Testimony of Major Charles 
NouRSE.— On, the 2d of »l\rovcmber, passes several boats 
ashore, and wrecked near Point Peninsula. — Conversa- 
tion between General Lewis, Colonel King, and General 
Wilkinson..— General Wilkinson expresses his satisfaction, 
with the conversation held with Colonel King. — General 



CHAP. 
IX. 



^0 



MEMOIRS BY 



Wilkinson not intoxicated on the 6th or 7th,^— Causes of 
halt helow Prescottf and General Wilkinson^s impatience, 
.^TVas with General Wilkinsonf in Canada, on the SOth 
March. — Was sent to Major Pitts f to hasten the bnnging 
the eighteen pounder , to La Cole Mill. — Half an hour be- 
fore sunsetf went to Majors Brooks and Pitts, to stop 
their coming lip. — Testiniomj of Major Henrt Lee, 36th 
regiment. — Waited on the Secretary of War, at Sackett's 
Harbour, with a message from General Wilki7ison. — Pro- 
duces memorandum of it. — In the habit of copying all 
General Wilkinson's military correspondence, and in his 
confidence. — General Wilkinson states his objections, to 
issuing orders to General Hampton, having been once dis- 
obeyed bij that officer. — States a conversation with Gene- 
ral Hampton, who considered himsef, only nominally, un- 
der the command of General Wilkinson. — Jccompanied 
Brigadier-general Brown, with the advance. — Details 
the occurrences. — Cross-examination. — General Brown 
effected a char passage, of Hoop-pole Creek, about 3 or 
4 o'clock, in the afternoon of the 10th. — JV*o enemy appear- 
ed afterwards. — Testimony of Captain John Biudie.— • 
JVever knew General Wilkinson to make use of language, 
to counteriance the waste of public property. — Descended 
the St. Lawrence, with the elite, under Colonel Macomb. 
• — Skirmish with the enemy.'-— Many lives would have 
been lost, hut for the precautions of General Wilkiiison.^— 
General Wilkinson's feelings towards the army, — His 
Keal and activity described. — Cross-examination. — Tes- 
timony of Lispector-general John Beli. — His letter to 
Doctor Ross, by order of the Secretary of War, continuing 
him on the roll of the army. 



CHAP. 
IX. 

Testimo- 
ny of 
Major 
Robert 
G. Kite. 



Major ROBERT G. HITE, assistant adjutant ge- 
neral, was sworn as a witness for the defence, and exa- 
mined as follows : 

1st ^ — Were you at Fort George, in September 1813, 
at tlie time General Wilkinson reached that place; and 
in what capacity did you act ? 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 281 

Ji. — ^I was there ; and acted as assistant adjutant-ge- chap. 
neral. ^^• 

2dl ^. — Can you recolleet the number of troops, report- 
ed at Fort George, the day of his arrival, their state and 
condition ? 

A» — I do. not recollect, the number then reported ; but 4587 men 
have a morning report of the 19th of September, between out'^of^' 
\Vhich day and that of General Wilkinson's arrival, there wiiich, 
was very little variation. By this report, the total pre- g,j,^ ^^"^"^ 
sent, on both sides the river, was 4587, of wluch num- Port 
ber, 1165 were sick, including officers and men ; 203 offi- ^°^^^* 
cers were present, including the sick. This report does 
not include the number of sick at Lewistown, nor some 
who were tented on the Niagara side. 

Sd ^. — Can you say, whether or not, the number of 
sick, had considerably diminished, from the time of Ge- 
neral Wilkinson's arrival at Fort George, until the date 
of the report you now offer to the court ? 

A. — The number had considerably diminished. 

4th ^ — What was tlie state of the troops, in respect 
to clothing, arms, organization and discipline, at the pe- 
riod of the General's arrival ? 

A. — They were decent in clothing; the arms w^ere 
good; the organization defective, and discipline loose. 

5th ^ — In what state, did General Wilkinson find the 
water transport, at that time, for the division at Fort 
George, as to competency, accommodation, fitness, and 
safety? 

J. — A number of boats, had been the whole summer Bad con- 
on the beach, and wanted caulking and repairing, before tj!ansport 
they could be used. They were incompetent, for the 
transportation of the troops, small, inconvenient, and 
unsafe. 

6th ^ — What appeared to be the General's attention, 
to the interests of the service? And, to your knowledge, 
was one hour lost, in preparing for the embarkation of 
the troops ? 

Jt. — He manifested much attention, to the interests of 
the service ; and I do not tiiink an hour was lost, 
vol. III. N n 



SSa MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. 7th ®. — Tn ronspquence of a deficiency of transport, 
'^' did not Commodore Chaunrey, take a number of ti-oops 
on board of his squadron; and but for this circumstance, 
must not those troops have been left behind ? 

Ji, — Some were taken by the squadron, and, I believe, 
coukl not have descended tlie Ontario, had they not pro- 
ceeded in that way. 
, Sth ^ — Was you on board of General Wilkinson'3 

passa,s;e-boat, above Ogdensbur2;!i, on rhe 6th of Novem- 
bee, 1813 : and on the mornin.!^ of thr.t day, were not the 
boats of the flotilla, found to be in ,(^reat derangement and 
confusion ; and did not General Wilkinson issue a morn- 
ing order, directing that they should resume their pro- 
per stations ; and is not the paper now presented, the 
order referred to ? 

J, — I was on board the boat. Tlie flotilla was in a 
state of derangement and confusion j and the following 
order was issued in consequence. 



MORNING G. O. 

« Head Quarters^ St. Lawrence^ 

JSTovember 6, 1813. 

General a The regiments and brigades, wliirh were deranged last 

Nov. 6th, nJgfitj must be put in strict order, as speedily as p'*ssible, 

1813. preparatory to a forward movement. The boats must be 

ranged by corps, at such distance, as to prevent their 

dashing each other to pieces, in case of a storm. The 

commander in chief, begs to speak to the general officers 

at mid-day. 

« The men immediately to cook two days provisions, 
exclusive of the present. 

"JAMES WILKINSON." 

gik Q — Was there not a private order issued, by Ge- 
Xieral Wilkinson, on the 6th of November, 1813? And at 
what time of the day, was that order written? And is not 
the paper now presented to you a copy of it ? 



GENERAL WILKINSON. S8» 

A. — The order was written by nif, dictated by Gene- chap. 
ral ^Yilkins()n, between the hours of 3 and 4, in the after- '^• 
noon — in the following words ; 

GENERAL ORDER. 

[Private.] ^^ Head Quarters, 6th JVor. 1813. 

« The boats will pass Prescott this night, after the set- 
tini^ of the moon, in the followinj^ order. The ,^iin boats 
to cover the front, and exposed flank. The boat of the 
general in chief will lead, followed by the whole of tlie 
ordniuice boats and scowls ; then the corps of Colonel 
Macomb, the riflemen and Colonel Ram'olph, who are to 
be foUov^ed, by brigades and regiments, as directed for 
the flotilla, at French Creek. The hospital vessel, and 
contractor's boats, w ill take the station heretofore pre- 
scribed. To save all unnecessai-y hazard, the powder 
and ammunition has been landed, and will pass the ene- 
my's batteries, in wheel carriages ; and to save the men 
from unnecessary exposure, the boats are to be manned 
strongly, and the rest of the troops are to be marched, by 
land, under cover of the night, to such point below Og- 
densburgh, as the General may hereafter direct. But it 
is to be clearly understood, that every boat is to be con- 
ducted, by a commissioned officer, or sergeant of unques- 
tionable fidelity. Brigadier-general Brown, general of- 
ficer of the day, w ill see this order carried into rigorous 
effect. 

«< By comman'l. 

« J. B, WALBACH, Adj, Gen:' 

lOth ^ — Did you see General Wilkinson, after yoa 
left him to promulgate this order? At what time? And 
did he appear to be intoxicated ? 

A. — I returned on board the General's boat, at the mo- 
ment he was descending the side, to get into his gig. He 
did not appear to me, to be intoxicated. 

llth ^. — Did you see General Wilkinson again, in the 
''burse of tke night, of the 6th of November, 1813? And 



S84j 



MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP. 
IX 

General 
Wilkinson 
not intoxi- 
cated, or 
in any 
way dis- 
qualified 
on the 
night of 
the 6th. 



did he then appear to be intoxicated, or disqualified, for 
a correct, regular, and faitiiful discharge of his duties, as 
commander in chief? 

ji After passing the enemy's batteries, and getting 

out of the reach of their fire, between 12 and 1 o'clock, 
we again saw General Wilkinson. He was not then in- 
toxicated, or in any respect disqualified. He hailed the 
passage boat, in which I was, and after ascertaining who 
we were, expressed his determination to proceed up the 
river, and look after the flotilla. The officers on board, 
opposed this resolution, but he persevered, considering it 
his duty to do so. 

12i/i ^ — Did you see General Wilkinson, the next 
morning, and at what hour ? And did he then appear in- 
toxicated ? 

A Between 8 and 9 o'clock the next morning, I saw 

General Wilkinson ', he did not appear to be intoxicated. 

ISth ^ — Did not General Wilkinson, the same day, 
give orders fur the elite under Colonel Macomb, to pro- 
ceed in advance, to clear the coast of the river, of the am- 
buscades of the enemy ; and to force a post at the nar- 
rows of the St. Lawrence, above Hamilton ? And can you 
state, what was the particular order, on that occasion ? 

ji. — The order transcribed by me, from recollection, 
was to the following effect : 



Instruc- 
tions to 
Colonel 
Macomb. 



« Head Quarters^ St. Lawrence RiveVi 
7th Mvember, 1813, 
« Sir, 

« I have received advice, that the enemy occupies a 
strong post, with several pieces of artillery, at the nar- 
rows, a few miles above Hamilton, for the purpose of an- 
noying the flotilla, in its descent. You will proceed im- 
mediately, with the reserve under your command, For- 
syth's riflemen. Colonel Randolph's command, and Major 
Herkimer's volunteers, and drive him from his position. 
I think it would be most prudent for you, to make the 
shore above him, and march to the attack by land, leav- 
ing a suflicieiU; number of men to secure your boats> in 



GENERAL AVILKINSON. ggfif 

case you should find it necessary to retreat. If the ene- chap. 
my is in considerable force, you will not risk an action, ^^' 
but inform mc of it immediately. If you succeed in exe- 
cuting this order, you will drop down to Hamilton, and 
wait there, until 1 join you. Wishing you a successful 
enterprise. 

<« I have the honour to be, 
« Very respectfully, 
<« Yours, &c. 

"JAMES WILKINSON. 
*< Colonel Mex, Macomb,** 

14th ^.— Did not General Brown, march with his bri- General 

Brown 

gade, the second dragoons, the elite under Colonel Ma- marches. 
comb, and four pieces of artillery, the morning of the 9th 
of November, 1813, and at what hour? 

ji. — He did : perhaps about 10 o'clock, A. M. 

IBth ^ — Did not the flotilla sail the same day, and at 
.what hour ? And did it not pass General Brown's com- 
mand, and reach the Yellow House, some time, previous 
to the arrival of the troops ? 

^. — It sailed the same day, between 12 and 1 o'clock, 
passed General Brown, and reached the Yellow House 
before him. 

±6th ^ — Do you know the rate, at which the flotilla 
sailed, on the day of the 9th of November, 1813 1 

A. — I cannot say. 

±7th ^ — Do you recollect, having any conversation, 
with General Wilkinson, on the 11th of November, 1813, 
or receiving any orders from him? 

A — I was ordered, by General Wilkinson, to land, and 
direct General (then Colonel) Porter to plant a battery 
on shore, to drive the enemy's gun boats. An eighteen 
pounder was landed, and several shot exchanged. When 
the action between the infantry became general, I was the 
only oflicer of General Wilkinson's family with him. 
He asked me, " what bickering that was?" I replied, the By order 
musketry are warmly engaged. He then directed me^ to wiiin- 



g86 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, assemble all the force, about the boats and on shore, and 
*^* send it to the field of action ; which I did, under the corn- 
son sends '"^"^ ^^^ Major Malcom and Colonel Upham. 1 found 
reinforce- Major Malcooi formed, when I applied to him j but I 

ments to , .11 j 

General Kuow not by whose ordcrs. 

Boyd, on i^fh ^ — On the 8th of November, 1813, while the 
troops lay at the White House, was not information re- 
ceived, that the corps of the enemy, which had fallen 
down from Kingston, to Prescott, and landed tl)ere, had 
re-embarked in their batteaux, and were following us 
with their gun boats? And were not batteries planted, and 
other precautions taken, to receive him ? 

J. — We were under strong expectati«jns, he would fall 
upon our rear, that night, and such precautions v/cre 
taken. 

19/A ^ — ^Was there not a skirmish with the enemy, 
on the morning of the 9th of November, 1813? And 
had not Major Forsyth one man killed? 
Skirmish *^" — There was,* and Major Forsyth had one man 
on the 9th. killed. 

QOth ^ — Did you see, or hear of any waste of provi 
sions, or stores, by the troops in their passage, down the 
St. Lawrence ? 

^. — I did not. 

2ist .^.-i-Did you hear General Wilkinson, hold any 
language, calculated to countenance, or encourage, such 
abuse, in either officer, or soldier? 

w^.— I did not. 

Q2d ^ — Was the confidence of the army, in General 
Wilkinson, impaired, by any act of his, on the 6th or 7th 
of November, 1813? 

J, — I do not think it was. 

The witness was cross-examined, by the judge advo- 
cate, as follows : 

Qross-exa- ±st ^ — After your return, from promulgating th« 
mination. private order, of General Wilkinson, how long did yow 
see him ? 



GENERAL WILKINSON. S87 

^ ^It was but a few minutes ; he was sitting in the chap. 

stern ot his gig ? v^-v-n.,* 

Qd ^ — Mad you any conversation with him ? 

vf. Ni)t any ; but heard him in conversation with 

others. 

Sd ^ — During the night of the 6th, did General Wil- 
kiusotn come on board of his scliooner. 

^. — No, I believe not; he passed us in his gig, near 
enough to hold conversation with him, in the ordinary 
tone of voice. 

4tli q. — At what time, did you write from recollrction, 
the general order, relative to the detachment of Colonel 
Macomb, with the elite, referred to, in your testimony ? 
And did you do so, wholly from your impressions, of the 
substance and import of the order ? 

^. — I wrote it since my arrival in this place; and 
did it wholly from my own recollection, and impres- 
sions. 

JOHN K. PAIGE, Captain in the 13th regiment, of 
United States infantry, was sworn, as a witness for tl*e 
defence, as follows : 

Q. — Did you keep a diary of the weather, in the Testimo- 
months of September, October, and November, ISlSJpaige. 
and will you exhibit it to the court? 

J. — I kept a diary, and the following is an abstract, 
for the time includc^d, between the 20th of September, 
1813, and the SOth of November, ensuing, when the army 
arrived at French Mills : 

1813, September 20th. — The whole army were indus- Abstract 
trioiisly employed, at this time, in repairing, and fitting ^i^ry. 
out boats. 

22d. — Colonel Scott, with between 4 and 500 men, em- 
barks about 8 o'clock, P. M. on an expedition. The 
night was dark, and a strong gale, off land, springing up, 
the boats w^re dispersed, and all did not return until next 
day. 

^4th.— Militia arrive at Lewistouo 



S88 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP 25th. — Orders issued for the emharkation of the 5th, 
'^' IStli, 13th, 15th, and 20th regiments. The wind pre- 
vents their moving. 

26th. — Wind still a-head. 

27th All the troops, except the 23d regiment, em- 
bark, but wind still continues a-head. 

28th. — The army leave Fort George, and sail down 
the lake. The wind, after rounding the point at Fort 
Niagara, was a-head, and increasing; but by rowing we 
had made from 8 to 10 miles, when orders were received, 
for our return : wind heavy during the night. The two 
fleets had been engaged, and were still so, when they 
went out of sight. 

29th. — Wind heavy a-head. 

30th. — Wind continues the same ; we march out to- 
wards the enemy's encampment ; General Wilkinson com- 
mands in person. 

Oct. 1st. — The wind had died away, and about 10 
o'clock, we again set sail. Towards night, the wind 
strong a-head, and many of the boats obliged, to put in at 
Twelve Mile creek. 

2d. — Get under way very early ; weather pleasant j 
sail to Forty Mile creek. 

3d. Fair wind the first part of the day ; arrive about 

dusk, at Braddock's Bay. 

4th. — Sail early J wind fair; towards night, appear- 
ance of a squall ; wind increasing; arrive at Oswego, a 
little after 11 o'clock, P. M. 

5th — About 1 A. M. a severe storm and gale; some of 
the boats wrecked during the night; wind continues du- 
ring the day. 

6th. — Wind continues, 

7th.~Principal part of the boats arrive at Oswego. 

8th. to 13th. — The wind was high, and a great pro- 
portion of the time, the weather cold, stormy, and disa- 
greeable. 

13th.— Left Oswego about 9 o'clock; wind heavy and 
fair, but increased, so that about 1 o'clock, obliged to put 
iij at Stony Creek. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. ^89 

14tli. — Wind continues heavy; remain at this place. chap. 

1.5th. — Sail to Hendersfin's Harbour. ^^• 

16th. — Orders issued, for organizing brigades and di- 
yisions. 

17th. — C(»ld, rain, and severe wind. 

IStli — Sail to Grenadier Island j wind fair, and brisk. 

19th to 23d, inclusive. — The weather, a principal part 
of tlie time, very pleasant. 

2*th to 25th Continued and severe storm. 

26th — Artillery and 5th regiment leave the island. 

27th. — The second bi-igade leaves the island. 

28th to 29th. — Rain and snow ; severe wind prevents 
our sailing. 

30th — Embark; severe wind renders it impossible, for 
our boats to weather Four Mile point ; some, in making , 
tiie attempt, were driven on Fox Island. 

31st and Nov. 1st. — Violent wind and snowstorm. 

2d. — Embark, and have a fine sail to Gravelly Point, 
12 miles; stop, in consequence of information, that part 
of the British fleet, layoff the point of Long Island. 

3d. — Our fleet move down the channel, and we sail to 
French Creek. 

4th. — Remain at this place ; weather pleasant. 

5th.-.-.Four o'clock, A. M. <' general^' beats, instead of 
'* reveillee.'^ Signal guns for putting off at 5; we get 
under moderate way; wind light, but favourable; wea- 
ther pleasant; arrive within 5 or 6 miles of Ogdensburgh, 
about 2 o'clock in the morning; boats in considerable 
disorder. 

6th and 7th — Weather pleasant ; pass Prescott in the 
night ; on the evening of the 7tii, light corps under com- 
mand of Colonel xVlacomb, move down the river. 

8th Sail to Hamilton. 

9th. — Arrive at Williamsburgh. 

10th. General Brown marches for Cornwall; is at- 
tacked. 

11th. — Battle; embark, and sail down tha-riVer about 
four miles ; land on the American shore. ' 

vol. IIL O 



ago MEMOIRS BY 

CRAP. ISth.-^Sail to Cornwall. 
'^- ISth.— To French Mills. 

^'"^^^'^^ JOHN KEYES PAIGE, 

Captain ±5th infantry. 

Question by the Judge Mvocate. 

Q.. — Were the remarks, in your journal, noted by you, 
(luring the expedition? Were they correct, and the result 
of your own observation? 

A. — They were. 

ALEXANDER SCAMMEL BROOKS, Major in 
the corps of artillery, being sworn, as^ a witness, for the 
defence, was examined, as follows : 

\st ^. — Was you attached to the ditision, at Fort 
George, in September, 1813 ; and in what capacity ? 
A. — I was there, captain of artillery. 
State of 2d Q. — Can you say, what was the state of the wea- 
ther^^fTOm ^^^^^f ^^'om the 20th of September, to the 7th of Octo- 
20th' Sept. ber, 1813? 

1813. *'^' — I^ ^^^ generally a gale of wind, with very short 

intervals. 

3d q Were the gun barges and boats at Sackett's 

Harbour, equipped for service, when you arrived there, 
on the 7th of October, and in what condition did you find 
them ? 

J. — They were not prepared, but were loaded with 
hospital stores, aiul otiier articles. 

Mh Q Had you occasion to apply, to the quarter-mas- 
ter general's department, for ammunition, and equip- 
ments for those boats ? and if so, will yon say what took 
Applies- place on tlic occasion? 

powder, •^' — ^ carried an order for a barrel of cannon powder, 
&.C. and some pouncls of priming powdci*, slow match and flannel, 
Biowii's f»'<^"^ General Porter to Major Brown, who refused to 
answer executc it. I next took it to General Lewis, and obtain-^ 



GENERAL WILKINSON. ®9i 

ed liis order ; but was again refused by Major Brown, chap. 
•who said he could not attend to trifles. *^" 

5th Q. — Were not those boats loaded, and encumbered 
with hospital stores ? Did you remonstrate to the deputy 
quarter-master general, on this subject, and what was his 
answer ? 

J. — The boats were very much encumbered. I re- 
monstrated on tlie subject, to Major Brown, and told 
him, that in case of an action, I must tlirow them over- 
board : lie replied, that I might throw them to the devil, if 
1 pleased. 

6th Q. — Did you see any army provisions, or stores, 
wasted or destroyed, by the troops, in descending the St. 
Lawrence ? 

^ — I (lid not. 

7th Q. — Did you ever liearof General Wilkinson using 
language, calculated to countenance or excite such con- 
duct, or to encourage negligence, or a disregard of the 
public property ? 

^..— No. 

8th Q. — Did you not descend the St. Lawrence, to the 
neighbourhood of Prescott, in the schooner Syren ? Was 
she not scuttled and sunk, above Prescott ', and why was 
this done ? 

A. — From French Creek to the neighbourhood of Pres- Schooner 

cott, I sailed in her. There was an order i-iven for s>''e'i 

sunk, 
scuttling and sinking her, because slie drew too much 

water to pass the rapids. 

9t]i Q. — Was it known, before you entered the St. 
Lawrence, that this vessel could not pass the rapids be- 
low Prescott ? 

A. — The master of the vessel, mentioned this circum- 
stance, at Sackett's Harbour. 

lOi/i Q. — Were there any articles sunk in her? if so, a 24 and 
what were they, and why were they not taken out ? ^" 18 

/.A j^ o 1 -I 1 pounder 

»3. — A twenty-tour, and an eighteen pounder, were sunk, for 

sunk in her, for want of transportation, as I was inform- ^^^'^^ °^ 

* transport 

ed bv the officer, who was assigned to that duty. 



39a MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. llth Q. — Did you see, or hear, of any unnecessary de- 

'^" lay, in the expedition down tlie St. Lawrence ? 
''^'"^'^^ ^.—No Sir. 

12f/i Q. — liad tlie troops confidence in General Wil- 
kinson, and (lid he forfeit that confidence, by his conduct 
on the expedition ? 

»4.' — I heard nothing to w arrant such an opinion. 
loth ^. — Did you ever see General Wilkinson, under 
the fire of tlie enemy ; and did he appear cool, and self- 
possessed, and regardless of his person ? 

w3. — I did at Odeltown, and he so appeared. Seven of 
my men were wounded on this occasion, 

l^th Q. — Did you enter Canada, with the division un- 
der General Wilkinson, the 30th of March, 1814> and in 
what command ? 

^. — I did ; commanding two companies of artillery, 

under the immediate orders of Major Pitts, of the light 

artillery. 

Ordered ]5^/i g, — Did you receive orders that day, to bring up 

Wiikin- to the battery, near La Cole Mill, the eighteen pounder, 

son, to under your particular orders, and from whom ? 

an 18 -^ Fiom an aid of General Wilkinson, I received 

pounder to g„p|, ^n order. 

La Cole « ^ , 

Mill. \6tk ^. — Was not this order afterwards countermand- 

ed, and at what time of day ? 
Order J, — It^was near sun down, when I was ordered back 

counter- .,, ., 

manded. VVlth it. 

±7th Q. — Did you understand what was the cause of 
the countermand ? 

A. — I was told, by the officer who presented the order, 
that Major Pitts could not advance with a twelve poun- 
der, which had preceded me. 

18//i ^ — Was the confidence of the troops impaired, in 
General Wilkinson, by the affair of La Cole, or by any 
prrceding pai-t of his conduct? 

A. — Not to my knowledge. 
Cross-exa- Cross-examined by the judge advocate : 
nnnation. j^^ q — ^jjen you applied to Major Brown, for am- 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 398 

munition and equipments, was he not very much occu- chap. 
pied ? *^- 

A. — He was busy at his dewsk. 

2d ^. — Was not the quarter-master's department, 
much pressed, at that time, in hastening the expedition ? 

Jl, — 1 do not know; but my own impression was, that 
the business on whicli I went, was of the first moment. 

oil ^ Was Generiil Swartwout, or Major Brown, 

present, when the master of the Syren informed you, she 
drew two much water to pass the rapids ? 

Ji — No, Sir. 

Ath Q. — Was tliis information given to General Swart- 
ivout, or Maj(ir Brown ? 

Jl. — Not to my knowledge, 

5th Q Had the carriage of the eighteen pounder un- 
der your command, been broken down? And what was 
its situation, wiien you received the order of counter- 
mand? 

Ji. — On the march, after we left Champlain, one of the Conditioa 

of the csn*" 
wheel boxes split, and was partially repaired. On return- riage of 

ing towards Champlain, after receiving the order of coun- ^^'^ ^^ 

termand, the box again gave way. on i's way 

to La Cole 

Questions by the Court. '"^^*' 

^ — Could you have reached La Cole Mill, with the 
eighteen pounder, had the order not been counter- 
manded ? 

^.— -I do not know" the road. 

^ — At what time of day, did you receive the first or' 
der, to repair to La Cole Mill? 

^.— It was late in the afternoon of the 30th. 

Major CHARLES J. NOURSE, assistant adjutant- 
genei'al, being sworn, as a witness for the defence, was 
examined, as follows : 

1st ^ — In what capacity did you act, in the expedi- Testimq- 
tion down the St. Lawrence, in 1813? M^orC. 

-'>?.— As an extra aid, to General Wilkinson. J Nourae. 



^4 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. 2.d ®. — Did you not carry despatches Irom General 
^^ Wilkirjson to the late secretary of war, from Grenadier 
Island? AVhere did you find the secretary) and when, 
and where rejoin General Wilkinson ? 

ji. — I carried despatches, which were delivered to the 
secretary, at Denmark, and returned hy the way of 
Sackett's Harbour, to Grenadier Island, on the 2d of 
November. 

Sd Q. — On your route from Sackett's Harbour to Gre- 
nadier Island, did you discover any artificers with ma- 
terials, to repair stranded boats, between those places ? 

On the 2d ^ I attempted to leave Sackett's Harbour, on tbe 1st 

ses seve- ^^ November, but was obliged to return, on account of 
ral boats the snow, and heavy sea. On the 2d, I went out in the 
andwreck- artificers' boat, with Captain Paris, \\\\o was going with 
^^- his men and materials, to repair tlie boats, near Point 

Peninsula, we passed a number of boats, which were on 
shore, and wrecked. 

4th Q Did you accompany General AVilkinson, down 

the St. Lawrence, to look at the fortifications of Prescott, 
on the morning of the 6th of November ? 

J I did. 

Coversa- 5^^ ^. — Returning up the river, did not General Wil- 
tween kinso" meet. General Lewis, and Colonel King, and did 
General not their barges make the shore, and those gentlemen 
Ktne^and land, and hold a conversation of some length ? 

General ^, — They did. 

eon. ^ ^^^^ ^ — ^^^ y"" ^^^ return afterwards with General 

"Wilkinson, in his barge, to his passage boat, and do you 
recollect any conversation, which took place, before you 
reached the boat ? 

The judge advocate objected to this question, but was 
overruled , and the witness answered, as follows : 

General ^. — General Wilkinson stated, that he felt much easier, 
Wilkinson gince conversing with Colonel Kins: ; being assured, that 

expresses "^ 070 

his satis- General Hampton would meet him, at some point below. 
wUh"the '^^^'' ^ — ^^ y®" recollect, Colonel King being on board 



r GENERAL WILKINSON. 295 

©f General Wilkinson's boat, on the afternoon of the 6th ? chaP; 
And have you any knowledge of his business ? *^ 

J, — Colonel King was on board, and received a letter, conversa- 
from General Wilkinson, to General Hampton, which tion with 
had been prepared for him. Khi^"^ 

%th Q. — How long did Colonel King remain, on board 
of General Wilkinson's boat? And did you hear, or ob- 
serve, any interesting conversation, between him and Ge- 
neral Wilkinson? 

S. — Colonel King remained but a few minutes, and I 
heard nothing miire, but General Wilkinson wishing hini 
a pleasant ride, and handing him the letter. 

9if/i ^. — Did you observe, General Wilkinson, at any 
time that day, the 6th of November, from morning until 
evening, appear to be dissatisfied, or discontented ? And 
was he not, unusually gay and cheerful, throughout that 
day ? 

Jl. — He appeared in better health, and more cheerful 
than he had been. 

IQth Q. — Did you see Colonels Scott and Gaines enter 
General Wilkinson's boat, on the 6th of November? At 
what time was it, and did not General Wilkinson mani- 
fest great joy, at seeing them ? Was General Wilkinson 
intoxicated, at this time? 

A. — I saw them come on board, about 3 o'clock. The 
meeting was most cordial on both sides ? 

11th C(. — Did you see General Wilkinson, go on board 
his gig ? At what time was it ? And did he appear intoxi- 
cated, or self-possessed at that time ? 

A. — He went on board, a little before, or about dusk. General 
An offer was made, by me I believe, to assist him into it, ^^[ \n\o^. 
which he declined : went over the side of the schooner cated, on 
alone, and was not intoxicated. oAhe^ih, 

IQth ^. — Did you see General Wilkinson, the next or 7th. 
day ? What was his situation, and did he appear intoxi- 
cated ? 

Ji. — I saw him early the morning of the 7th, standing 
by a fire on shore. He did not appear to be intoxi- 
cated^ 



396 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. ISth ^ — How long did General Wilkinson, halt be* 
*^' low Ficscott, on the 7th of November? What were the 
causes of that halt ? Did not General Wilkinson, mani- 
fest, great impatience at the delay, and exert every means 
in his power to shorten it ? 
Causes of J, — He halted nntil 2 o'clock ; for this, there were 

halt below ^, ,, -i p i • • j.i i. 

Presott, three causes: one, the necessity ot bringing upthestrag- 

and Gene- fflcrs, from the flotilla, who had left it the iiiglit before: 

kinson's aiu)th(T, of waiting for the boat which had put into Og- 

impa- densburgh ; and lastly, some time was spent in re-ship- 

tience. -^ - •■ -i * _ 

ping tl»e powder. General Wilkinson expressed great 

impatience at the delay, and did all he could to shorten 

it. 

±Mh ^ — Was you with General Wilkinson, on the 
30th of March, 1814, when the troops marched into Ca- 
nada ? 

w3. — I was. 

15th Q. — While our battery was playing on La Cole 
Mill, did you not carry a message to Captain M*Pher- 
son, from General Wilkinson? And if so, what was it? 
And what his rejdy ? 

^. — I was directed to inquire of him, whether his bat- 
tery had any effect. He replied, he could not say posi- 
tively ; but he thought it had. 

16th ^ — Did you not carry orders to Major Pitts, 
comman<ling oflicer of artillery ? At what time, and for 
what purpose ? 

v3. — Shortly after seeing Captain M^Pherson, I was 
sent to Major Pitts, to hasten the twelve pounder. 

±7th Q. — Did you not carry an order, to Major Brooks, 
on the SOth of March, 1814 ? At what time, and when did 
you deliver it ? 

^. — I went to both Major Brooks and Major Pitts, to 
stop their coming up, about half an hour before sun-set. 

ISth ^. — In what time could Major Brooks, have 
reached the site of the battery, near La Cole Mill ? And 
must not the road have been previously widened ? 

^. — Without the road being previously widened, he 
could not have got there in two hours. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 297 

The witness was cross-examined, by the judge advo- chap. 
cate, as follows : *^' 

1st Q.— Are you certain, that you heard all the con- 
versation, which passed between General Wilkinson and 
Colonel King, on board of General Wilkinson's schooner? 

»5. — I am not. I was some distancefrom thenj upon deck. 

2d Q. — Do you recollect the hour. Colonel King came 
on board ? 

^ — I suppose it wa? half past 2, or a quarter before 3 
©'clock. 

Sd q. — Did you see him, when he left the vessel, and 
how late was it? 

Jl. — I saw him leave the vessel, and should not sup- 
pose he staid there ten minutes. But I cannot speak po- 
sitively as to the time ; and my recollection of the con- 
versation on board, is very slight. 

HENRY LEE, Major in the 36th regiment of infan- 
try, was sworn, as a witness for the defence, and exa- 
mined, as follows : 

1st Q. — AVas you attached to the family of General Testimo= 
Wilkinson, in the autumn of 1813, and in what capacity? Major 
And where did you join him ? HenryLee, 

J. — I was, as aid-de-camp j and joined him at Fort 
George. 

Q(i Q. — Do you recollect, while at Sackett's Harbour, Waited on 
waiting on the late secretary of war, John Armstrong, gf^^y^jf^t 
esq. with a message from General Wilkinson ? And what Sackett's 
was the message? wiTh'T''' 

^. — I do : and the following is a memorandum of the message 
particulars, of the conversation, which occurred on that j,^.^^! ^y-'i, 
occasion, as noted by me, at the time. kinson. 



Sacketfs Harbour, 12th October, 1813. 

Yesterday, by command of General Wilkinson, I wait- 
ed on the secretary of war, at his quarters, and deliver- 

VQI,. III. P p 



398 MEMOmS BY 

CHAP, ed to him, a confidential communication from General 
*^ AVilkinson, in substance, as follows : 

Memoran- <« Tliat General Wilkinson had, after several verbal 
™" and written comniuniiations, with Commodore Chaun- 
cey, come to the resolution, of attacking Kingston, and 
from above the town, rather than from below ; for reasons 
suggested, or adopted, by the Commodore ; (which rea- 
sons, I detailed to the secretary ;) and that he would, as 
he was firndy persuaded, succeed. That, in his opinion, 
the possession, or demolition of Kingston, was a neces- 
sary preliminary, to the conquest of the province of Up- 
per Canada. And that the subjugation of that province, 
would be a certain consequence of the occupation, or de- 
struction of Kingston. That thej'e was time enough be- 
fore us, for the perfection of this enterprise, and the tak- 
ing of Montreal; which last operation, would require but 
a few days. That if we should sustain much loss at 
Kingston, our junction with General Hampton would re- 
pair it. That his (General Wilkinson's) mind was so 
resolved on this course of action, that nothing short of 
an official direction from the secretary of war, to that 
effect, would cause him to refrain fiom it ; or to adopt 
any other, which had been proposed to him. 

" With these opinions, and this determination, of Ge- 
neral Wilkinsi/n, the secretary expressed his agreement. 
Said that his first opinion on the subject, which had been 
since cori'oboratcd, had been in favour of the attack from 
above. That the advantages of an attack fiom below, 
were reduced by so many, and such heavy disadvantages, 
as to convince him of the pi'opriety of attacking, from 
above : otherwise, tbe fleet would be caught in a sack, 
from which it migitt be impossible to extricate it. That 
the only drawback on this plan, was, that it would leave 
room for the Bsitish army, in Kingston, to escape. I 
then, as directed by General Wilkinson, handed the se- 
cretary, for his perusal, certain letters*, which had passed 
between General Wilkinson and Commodore Chauncey* 

* See Appendix, No, XIH- 



eENERAX. WILKINSON. S99 

on the subject of this enterprise ; which papers, the sccre- CWAP, 
taiy of war, after a few minutes returned to me. 

H. LEE, v-'^^^^w 

Md-de-camp to General Wilkinson. 

3d ^. — Did you see Colonel King with General Wil- 
kinson, on board of the General's boat, on the 6th of No- 
vember; were tliey long together; was you near them; 
and did they appear to enter into an interesting conver- 
sation ? 

^. — I saw Colonel King ; but he being a stranger to 
me, and in every respect indifferent, I do not know how 
long he continued on board. Notliing occurred to give 
me the impression, that any interesting conversation 
passed. I did not, perhaps, loolc twice at Colonel King 
wkile he staid. 

4th Q. — Was you not in the habit of copying, General 
Wilkinson's, confidential communications, and reading 
his confidential correspondence? Was you not almost 
constantly with him, until the 9th of November, and did 
he not speak to you, on public matters, without reserve ? 

J — I was in t!ie habit of copying all iiis military cor- Was in 
respondenc e, and reading his papers and documents. He j-^i's con-* 
appeared to speak to me, with perfect confidence. fidencfi. 

5th Q. — Do you recollect the situation, in which Gene- 
ral Wilkinson considered himself, in relation to General 
Hampton, in consequence of that officer's disobedience, 
or neglect, of General Wilkinson's orders to him? And 
did you ever hear, General Wilkinson express himself 
on that subject ? 

The judge advocate opposed the question being an- 
swered, because General Wilkinson's declarations, in his 
own favour, are not legal evidence. 

The court overruled the objection, and the witness 
stated : 

»^. — I have lieard General Wilkinson observe, that Ge- 
neral Hampton, had refused to obey an order, sent by 



300 



MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP. 
IX. 



General 
Hampton 
consider- 
ed him- 
self, only 
nominally 
under 
the com- 
mand of 
General 
Wilkin- 
son. 



him from Albany. While at Grenadier Island, General 
Wilkinson received an express, from tlie secretary of 
war, wishing him to urge General Hampton, to foim a 
junction. General Wilkinson, in reply, wrote to the se- 
cretary of war, that he had been disobeyed once by Ge- 
neral Hampton, and on this account, he did not wish to 
issue any other orders to him. 

6th Q. — Did you not, on the 6th of November, trans- 
cribe a letter from General Wilkinson to General Hamp- 
ton, of which the paper now presented to you, is a copy; 
and did not General Wilkinson explain to you, at the 
time, his motives for not couching it, in more imperative 
language ? 

w2. — I understood, that his motives for not couching it 
in more positive terms, were. General Hampton's having 
slighted his former orders, and his not wishing, to put 
himself in a situation, to have his orders again dis- 
obeyed. 

7th Q. — Had you any conversation, with General 
Hampton, respecting, the campaign, of 181.'?, and Gene- 
ral Wilkinson ; and will you state it ? 

A. — I recollect, having a conversation with him, at 
Plattsburgh, in the month of November, 1813, in which 
he stated, that the secretary of war, had stipulated with 
him, that he should be merely, nominally, under General 
Wilkinson's command. 

Sth Q. — Did you hold any conversation with the late 
secretary of war, John Armstrong, esq. at the city of 
New York, in December, 1813, respecting the conduct of 
the expedition, under General Wilkinson, down the St. 
Lawrence, the preceding autumn, and also of the conduct 
of General Hampton, during the same period ? 



The judge advocate opposed the testimony, embraced 
by this and the preceding question, as violating the first 
principles of evidence, according to Feake, M*NaIly, and 
others. 

The court permitted the first question to be answered, 
but considered the last inadmissible. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 301 

The court adjourned to Wednesday, the 1st of March, chap. 
1815, at 10 o'clock, A. M. s,<J^X^ 

Troy, March 1st, 1815. 

Tlic court convened pursuant to adjournment. 
The examination of Major Lee was resumed, as fol- 
lows : 

9th ^. — Did you see General Wilkinson, on the even- 
insj of the 6th of November, and the morning of the 7th, 
and was lie intoxicated at either time ? 

£. — I saw liim all day on the 6th, and early in the 
morning of the 7th. He did not appear to me intoxi- 
cated. 

10th ^. — Did you accompany Brigadier-general Brown, 
on the 10th of November, 1813, down the left bank ; and 
if so, will you be pleased to describe occurrences ? 

^. — I accompanied him, as volunteer aid, and recol- Accompa- 
lect but one occurrence of moment, at Hoop-pole Creek, "'^. ^^^' 
where the bridge had been destroyed. A party of the ijeneral 
enemy, composed chiefly of militia, stationed on the op- ^.'[wh^ 
posite bank, fired on our advance, wounded Major For- advance— 
syth, and one of his men. A party was detached, under ^fj^^ences 
Cohmel Scott, to pass up the creek, to some fordable 
point, and turn the right flank of the enemy. As soon 
as they perceived the detachment crossing, they dispersed. 
We understood the body consisted of 800 men. General 
Brown's march was obstructed, about three hours, prin- 
cipally owing to the destruction of the bridge. Some 
S. rounds of grape shot were fired by us, on our approach 
\> the enemy. The above took place, perhaps twelve 
miles down tlie river, from Ciirystler's, about noon, on 
the 10th, and was, 1 believe, opposite to the Long Saut. 

The witness was cross-examined, by the judge advo- Cross-exa- 
cate, as follows : "^'"^''°"^- 

±st Q — From the nature of the siiore, in this quarter, 
did you observe any position, from which the enemy 



30^ 



MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP. 
IX. 



iriiglit have annoj'ed the flotilla, in descending the Long 
Saut? 

A. — I did not observe any particularly, but should sup- 
pose the places injiumerable? 

2d Q. — What was the distance, from the St. Law- 
rence ? 

Ji. — As far as I can recollect, a very short distance. 
There was a block house immediately on the river. The 
enemy had no artillery with them ', and the block house 
was evacuated. 

Srf Q. — Are you acquainted with tlie width of the river, 
or nature of the channel, opposite the block house ? 

A. — I am not. The river was full of islands ; one, I 
believe, immediately opposite the block house. A casual 
spectator, might have taken the island for the opposite 
shore. 

Uh Q. — Do you know, whether the channel was on tlie 
south side of those islands ? 

ji. — I do not know ; it was sometimes on one side, and 
sometimes on the other. 

5th Q. — Can you say, whether General Brown des- 
patched a courier to General Wilkinson, to announce the 
result of his movement ? 

A. — I recollect liis despatching two^ but do not know, 
when the first started. I believe it was on the 10th j but 
have no distinct impression of it. The second went 
from Barnhart's on the 11th ; I do not recollect the 
hour. 

6</i Q. — By what time on the 10th, had our troops ef^ 
fected, a clear passage down the river, and dispersed thil 

passes 

the creek, enemy ? 

about 3 or j^^ — They effected a clear passage of the creek, abou 

4 o'clock '' i o ' , 

in the 
evening. 



fSeneval 
Brown 



3 or 4 o'clock, in the evening of the 10th. No enem] 
appeared afterwards. The obstruction arose principallj 
from the bridges being destroyed. 



JOHN BIDDLE, Captain in the 46th United State! 
infantry, was sworn, as a witness for the defence, and 
examined, as follows ; 



GENERAL WILKINSON. W3 

1st q. — Was you on the expedition down the St. Law- chap. 
rencc, attached to General Wilkinson's family, and in l^^I,^^ 
what capacity 2 

^q, — I was an extra aid, to General Wilkinson. 

orf ^. — Djj yon see, or hear, of any provisions or 
stores, being wasted or destroyed, by tlic troops, in de- 
scending (he St. Lawrence ? Or did you hear, or under- 
stand, that General Wilkinson, ever made use of lan- 
guage, calculated to cause or countenance negligence, and 
waste of public property, of any species, by either offi- 
cers or soldiers? 

Ji. — I never did. 

oil Q. — Did you see General Wilkinson on the 6th 
of November, and at v\hat time; and did he appear 
intoxicated, or incapable of exercising a sound judg- 
ment ? 

A. — I saw him about twilight. From what I observed 
of his conduct, I entertained no suspicions of his being 
intoxicated. He was more than usually animated; but 
it appeared rather an exertion for the occasion. 

4th q. — Did you not command a platoon, in the elite 
corps, on the 7th November? An<l did you not descend 
the river St. Lawrence, under command of Colonel Ma- 
comb, that day ? 

A. — I did descend the St. Lawrence, a short distance, 
under the command of Colonel Macomb. 

5th Q. — Was the corps fired on, by the enemy, or not? 
he pleased to state circumstances ? 

J, — When the leading boats arrived v, itliin a mile of Skir- 
a place, called Matilda, they were fired at, by some mill- JJjJ)^4e 
tia, perhaps fifty f>r sixty. Some sliot fell riear, and over enemy, 
the boats. C'olonel Macomb ordered his command to the 
American side, formed in order of battle, and crossed. 
The miliUa, on our approach, fired perhaps five or six 
rounds and dispersed. Our prin( ipal detachment land- 
ed, fiiund it (Matilda) evacuated, and hurnt the works. 
Colonel Macomb, with a division of boats, was entan- 
gled, in an eddy, and au hour elapsed, before he reached 
the sljore. 



^304- MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. Gth Q. — From what you observed, of the fire of the 
^■^ enemy, on the boat in which you was ; if he had kept 
post in what was called Fort Matilda, with a body of in- 
fantry and artillery ; and the flotilla had descended the 
St. Lawrence, without the precautions adopted by Gene- 
ral Wilkinson; would not many lives, have been lost, and 
many boats destroyed ? 

^. — There is no question, but many lives must neces- 
sarily have been lost. 

7th Q. — Did General Wilkinson appear to you, on the 

6th of November, to be dissatisfied with his situation, and 

discontented with the army ? 

General Jl. — I do not recollect any thing, indicative of such 

ti's f 1 feelings, but the contrary. The passage of Prescott was 

ings to- looked upon as important, and General Wilkinson was 

a^-mv^his zealous and active, in making preparations. 

zeal and 

activity. fj,j^^ witness was cross-examined, by the judge advo- 
cate, as follows : 

Cross-ex- ±st Q. — When Colonel Macomb crossed, with his boats 
tion" t^ f'^**''^^ ^^ ''"^ ®f battle, was he immediately opposite to 

Matilda ? And what was the distance to that post ? 

A. — He formed his detachment, and landed about a 
mile above Matilda. 

o^ q. — Did the troops, undei' Colonel Macomb, take 
possession of Matilda ? 

w3. — They marched down from the landing above, and 
took possession of it. 

Sd Q. — Did it appear, that the enemy had possessed 
that place, immediately previous to your arrival ? 

J. — ^There was nothing there, which indicated that it 
was hastily abandoned. There was no artillery there. 
We took prisoner. Captain Green, of the commissary's 
department. 

Mh q. — How long, did it employ. Colonel Macomb, t© 
effect this object ? 

»3. — It was dark when Colonel Macomb landed. Pro- 
ceeded to Matilda, and took possession of the works. In 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 305 

the inarch to the place, two of our platoons being unable CHAP. 
to distinguish, in consequence of the darkness, fired at ,^,^^1, 
each other. The works consisted of a semicircular bat- 
tery, of large squared logs, filled in with earth. 

5th Q. — At what hour, did the detachment under Colo- 
nel Macomb, first move that day ? And were any artille= 
ry, or munitions of w^ar found at Matilda? 

^. — About mid-day, I believe they moved. No artille- 
ry, or munitions of war were found. 

JOHN R. BELL, inspector-general, in the United 
States army, was sworn, as a witness for the defence, 
and examined as follows : 

Q. — Was not Doctor Ross, by order of the secretary Testlmo- 
of war, dropt from the service, in the last year? And inspector 

was he not afterwards restored, by order of the secreta- general 

•^ John Bell. 

ry of war ? If so, will you give dates, if you can? 

Objected to, by the judge advocate; but allowed by the 
court. 

»a. — He was not on the rolls of the army, in June, 1814. 
In August, I wrote him the following letter, by order of 
the secretary of war : 

'< adjutant <Sf Inspector GeneraVs Office^ 
TVashington, 20th Jlug. 1814. 
« Sir, 

«< I have the honour to inform you, that by direction 
of the secretary of war, your name is continued on the 
rolls of the army, as hospital surgeon. 
« 1 am. Sir, 

« Your obed't. serv't. 
"JOHN R. BELL, 

Assist. Insp, Gen* 
« .Doctor William M. Boss, 

Hospital Surgeon, SacketCs Harhonr*- 
TOL. Iir, Q q 



306 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, When the secretary ,e;ave me this, he at the same time, 
handed me a confidential report of the inspector-.^eneral, 
relative to the state of tlie hospital, at Sackett's Har- 
bour. My impression is, that he was restored, in rousc^ 
quence of the favourable teims, in which he was there re- 
presented. 

STEPHEN LUSH, judge advocate, in the United 
States arni>, was sworn, as a witness for the defence, 
and examined, as follows ; 

Testimo- j^^ q^ — jjj, j ^^^ gg^ j^j^g secretary of war, at Antwerp, 
judge ad- in the autumn of 1813, and had he not gone to that place, 
s"e^h^n ^" '''^ route to Ogdensburgh? 
Lush. ^. — I saw him at Antwerp, wliere he was detained by 

S^^^**^ sickness, 
secretaiy 

of war, at 2rf Q. — While at Antwerp, did you hear him make any 
in'auTumn ^'^marks, respecting the then depending expedition ? And 
1813. if so, declare w hat they were ? 

The question w^as objected to, by the judge advocate, 
as irrelevant, and improper j but deemed admissible by 
the court. 

J. — In the course of the evening, the subject of the 
campaign was inirtrduced. The secretary observed, the 
expedition xvas to have started the month previous, in 
September; hut he lamented that it was delayed, by the 
inclemency of the weather; and ajiprehended further de^ 
lay through the same cause, and by reason of other diffi- 
culties. 

2d ((. — Wlien the troops lay before La Cole, on the 
30th of March, 1814, did you carry any message, from 
General Wilkinson to Captain M'Pherson, at his batte- 
ry ? If so, declare what it was, and what was his reply ? 

c9.' — I did. General Wilkinson ordered me to go to 
M'Pherson, and ask him, whether his pieces made any 
Impression on tlie mill, and if tlie howitzer should not be 
brought up ? he replied, that he could not tell with cer- 



GENERAL AVlLKINSONc 307 

taioty, but he tliou.a;ht it did, and begged that the howit- CHAP, 
zcr might he brought up. ^^' 

4th ^. — Did you not afterwards, carry a message from 
General Wilkinson to Major Pitfs, commanding oiRcer of 
artillery ? And if so, declare what it was, and at what hour 
of the (iay ? 

jl, — I went with a message, requiring him to bring up Wentwith 
tlie other 12 pounder. I should suppose about 3 o'clock, j'o Major 
or a little past, in the aftermion. P'tts, re- 

5th Q^. — Was not the column misled, on the 30th of him to 
March, 1814, by the advanced guard? And did you carry ^''"S"*^^ 

sicond 12 

any message on that subject, trom General Wilkinson to pounder 

the officer, or officers in fmnt ? If so, declare what it was ? "P^ ^° '".^ 

Cole mill. 

J. — It was misled. General Wilkinson expressed 
some apprehensions that this was tlie case, and sent me, 
I believe, to Colonel Forsyth, respecting it. Colonel 
Forsyth replied, he had been there before, and knew he 
was right. 

6th Q. — Did you see. General Wilkinson, that day in 
presence of the enemy, and was his conduct soldier-like, 
or otherwise ? 

Ji. — It was uniformly firm, and manifested an entire 
disregard, to personal danger. 

7th ^. — Did you carry any other orders, from Gene- 
ral Wilkinson, that day ? 

J — I cajried several to General Bissell, in advance, at 
the time tiie c<dumn was misled. General Wilkinson 
heard t!ie firing, and sent me to tell General Bissell, to 
supi;ort that point of the action. 

JAMES MANN, hospital surgeon, in the United 
States army, was sworn, as a witness for the defence, » 

and examined, as follows: 

Q. — How many sick men were in the hospital, at Fort 
George, when General Wilkinson arrived? 

J. — In the general hospital, at Levvistown, about six 
hundred. In the regimental hospitals, I believe, I ara 
within bounds, when I say one thousand. 



308 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. GIFFORD D. YOUNG, Lieutenant-colonel of the 
*^* 29th infantry, was sworn, as a witness for the defence, 
and examined, as follows: 

±si Q. — Was you not appointed, to the command of 
Greenbush, by General Wilkinson? And was you not re- 
moved from that command, by an order, direct from the 
war department? 

A. — I was. 

Qd Q Do you know, why you was removed from 

your command, at Greenbush? 

^.■— I do not. 

The two last questions, and the following to Doctor 
Ross, were opposed, as inadmissible, by the judge advo- 
cate, but were allowed by the court. 

Additional question to Doctor Ross. 

Did you ever mention the bad quality of the flour, to 

the secretary of war, John Armstrong, esq. ? Or was he 

specially advised on that subject, at Sackett*s Harbour, 

and at what time ? 

Reported »^« — Some time in October, 1813, before the sailing of 

bad flour i\^q expedition, I had a conversation, at Sackett's Har- 

ett's Har- ^^^^^'* with General Armstrong, relative to the bad state 

bour, to of the flour; and observed to him, Lieutenant Rickets, of 

s cc ret 3.rv 

of war. ^^^ 13th, formerly an inspector of flour, at Alexandria, 
had been appointed an inspector, at the Harbour, by or- 
der of General Brown. That after an inspection had 
been made, by Lieutenant Rickets, he informed me, there 
were not twenty barrels Jit for use; and it would kill* the 
lest horse at Sacketfs Harbour, to viake him eat it. The 
secretary desired me, to bring Lieutenant Rtcketts to hui 
which I did; and Lieutenant Ricketls confirmed the state- 
ment, 

* This Information was withheld from me, altliough communicat- 
ed to the secretary of war, and Brig-adier-general Brown, and the 
troops, were suffered, or obliged, to eat this deleterious flour, for 
f/ie emolument of the contractor. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 309 

Col. NINIAN PINKNEY, inspector-general in the chap. 
United States army, was sworn, as a witness for the ,^^.1. 
defence, and examined, as follows : 

±st Q. — How long, have you served in a military capa- 
city, with General Wilkinson, and in what stations? Did 
you accompany him on the expedition, down the St. Law- 
rence, in 1813, and in what character? 

»4. — I have served about General Wilkinson's person, 
five years; part of the time, as aid-de-camp, brigade- 
major, and adjutant-general. In the first capacity, I ac- 
companied him down the St. Lawrence, in 1813. 

2d ^. — Was you on board General Wilkinson's pas- 
sage boat, the 6th of November, when Colonels Scott and 
Gaines visited him ? How long did he remain with those 
officers, before he went into his gig ? 

^ I was on board when tliey arrived; and I think 

the General remained about half an hour. 

3d Q. — Had you any conversation with General Wil- 
kinson, just before he entered his gig; and was, or was 
lie not, sober, and self-possessed ? 

^. — Just as he was descending into his gig, he took 
me aside, and requested me to be attentive to Colonels 
Scott* and Gaines, whom he had invited to staij on board. 
He stated, that he would not return to the vessel, until 
after passing Prescott, and appeared perfectly collected, 
and in possession of his faculties. 

ith Q. — Did you see General W^ilkinson again, in the 
course of the night? If so, what happened at the time, 
and did he appear intoxicated, or not ? 

^, — After passing Prescott, about 11 o'clock, and about General 

one and a half mile below, we met General Wilkinson, Wilkinson 

' ' passes trie 

on the river. We hailed each other. He came along ni^ht of 

side, in his gig, and directed me, where to make the j^J^ j' J." 

shore, on the right, a mile and a half further down. He discovers 

had reconnoitred, and found a suitable landing place, Jg^ ^^ 

about three miles below Pr-e^cott. I asked, whether he boats on 

intended coming on board ? He said no ; he should re- ,.j(.^u gj^jg 

* Scott repaid this civility, by secretly reporting me to be a 
drunkard. 



310 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, turn up the river, and look after the flotilla. He told 
^^' me, that I had narrowly escaped capture, as he had 
fallen in with two of the enemy's gun boats on the Ameri- 
can side, lying under the shade of the woods, and which, on 
finding they were discovered, re-crossed the river, and 
left the coast clear, I did not see him again, until about 
4 o'clock in the morning, after his return. I offered him 
my blankets, on which he lay before the fir6 on shore. 

5th Q. — Did you see General Wilkinson, the next 

morning, and at what hour ? Did you hear him hold any 

conversation with Colonel Scott, and was he intoxicated 

at that time ? 

General ^,, — | gaw him the next morning, after sunrise. He 

Wilkinson ,. ,, ,„ ,, , ,..,,^i , 

not intoxi- directed breakfast to be prepared, and invited Colonels 

cated on gcott and Gaines to partake. When they came up, Gc~ 
the morn- 
ing ot the neral AVilkinson saluted them, and told Colonel Scott, 

"^^^^ he had not had time t!ie evening before, to ask him a 

thousand questions, vvliich he wished to do. They con- 
versed on a variety of subjects, and General Wilkinson 
appeared in greater sj)irits, than it was supposed possi- 
ble he could, after the fatigues he had undergone. He 
was in no degree intoxicated ; and his excellent spirits, 
he attributed, to the flotilla, having passed Prescott with 
the loss of only one man. 

6th Q.— Did you know of any waste or destruction, of 
stores and provisions, between Grenadier Island and the 
French Mills; and did you ever know or hear, of Gene- 
ral Wilkinson's making use of language, calculated to 
encourage waste and neglect, of the public property, iri 
either officer or soldier? 

./i, — I did not. 

7th Q. — During your whole acquaintance, did yo« 
ever hear General Wilkinson, speak disrespectfully of the 
army, or of the service? 

.'?.— -Never. 
General gf/t Q. — Was General Wilkinson able to leave his bed, 

Wilkinson , ■ r. -».t . -> 

notable to on the 11th 01 November, 1813? 
leave his J JJe was not. 

ucd on 

h" ii»h. 9th (I — Did you carry any orders, from General W^il- 
kinson, on that day, and to whom, and for What purpose? 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 311 

Jl, — I conveyed several orders, to the officers com- chap. 
mauding the artillery, to land guns, for the purpose of *^ 
driving off the enemy's gun boats ; also to the officer 
commanding the dragoons, to furnish horses for the ar-» 
tillery, to be sent to General Boyd; and to Major Up- 
ham, to take every man that could be spared, to rein- 
force General Boyd during the action. 

10th ^. — Did you hear any observation from, or hold 
any conversation with. General Wilkinson, during the 
action at Clirj stler's field. 

ji, — We had frequent conversations. General Wilkin- 
son expressed great anxiety, and lamented his hard for- 
tune, that he could not partake, in the daugers of the 
day. During this time. General Wilkinson, without any 
previous application from General Boyd, ordered me to 
send off the reinforcements, under Colonel Upham. I 
mentioned to General Wilkinson, that I thought the ene- 
my were retiring; but he considered the firing too long, 
and too hot, to warrant the opinion. 

nth Q. — Did not the boats, put off from the Canadian 
shore, after the action at Chrystler's field, contrary to 
the knowledge and intention, of General Wilkinson ; and 
did he not exclaim against it. 

ji. — It was contrary to his wish, and he exclaimed General 

- ^ ■ . , Wilkinson 

against it. I attempted to stop the movement, but was o; posed 

not able. General W^ilkinson remarked, that the enemy ^'^ ^^^ 

. movement 

would say we had run away, and claim a victory. of the 

12th Q. — Did you carry any message, from General '^'^^tsfrom 
Wilkinson, to General Boyd, after the action had closed? da shore. 
If so, what was it, and what was General Boyd's reply ? 

»9. — I carried a message to General Boyd, to ascer- 
tain, whether he could maintain himself, on the bank tliat 
night. He replied, that he could not : that it was neces- 
sary tlie men should embark, to have an opportunity of 
cooking, and obtaining a peaceable night's rest. 

lith Q. — Did not General Wilkinson, at the time, and 
during the night, express great chagrin and regret, at 
the movement of the troops, from the Canada shore? 

Ji. — He did, very great, all tiie evening. 



31S MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. ±Uh Q. — From long acquaintance with General Wil- 
^^* kinson,. and your observation of him, what is your opi- 
nion of him, as a man of honour, a gentleman, and a 
soldier ? 

His opi- ^. — His conduct, has always created respect and es- 

General ^^^^ towards him, as a gentleman, and a man of ho- 

Wiikin- nour ? 

du"ct'/°"' ^^*^* ^ ^" y^" recollect. General Wilkinson's in- 
forming you, that he had ordered the quarter-master ge- 
neral, Brigadier-general Swaitwout, to have a large 
quantity of forage, ready at Sackett's harbour, for the 
expedition of 1813 ? And if so, when and where did this 
happen ? 

The judge advocate objected to the question j but the 
court deemed it admissible. 

j1. — At Fort George, when he arrived there ; he men- 
tioned to me, that he had ordered Brigadier-general 
Swartwout, to have in readiness many thousand rations; 
I do not recollect the particular quantity. 

16th Q. — Do you recollect General Wilkinson's ex- 
pressing much anxiety, at Plattsburgh, respecting a let- 
ter, which General Swartwout informed him, he had sent 
to head quarters, by an orderly sergeant ? 

A — Yes. While at Plattsburgh, I called on General 
Wilkinson, at orderly hour, and found him, Mr. Bell, 
and Captain M<Pherson, searching for a lost letter. 
General Wilkinson expressed great anxiety about it, and 
directed me to enquire through (he adjutants, wlio were 
the orderly sergeants; which was done. The standing 
orderlies, about head quarters, were examined, and I un- 
derstood the letter could not be found. Orders were 
given to the different adjutants ; but I have no knowledge, 
that the other orderlies were examined ; or that any one 
could be found, who had carried a letter from General 
Swartwout. 

The witness also proved, the delivery of the following 
notice at head quarters. Fort George, by a British dc- 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 313 

serter, the latter part of September, 1813, on the day chap. 
preceding- the movement of the troops, to meet the ene- ^^" 
my, as stated in the testimony of General Boyd and 
others. i 

*" Every movement of the army, is either an immediate Notice 
attack or retreat : about 2,270 strong. to^Fw-t 

" To Major V. Huyck, 13th Reg't." b^rit-i 

tish de- 
Cross-examined by the judge advocate. serter. 

q, — Do you recollect, who gave the order for the 
movement of the flotilla, after the battle at Chrystler's 
field. 

A. — After more than half the boats had pushed off, into 
the middle of the river, and the number left was too 
small, to continue and maintain their position, the final 
order, for the whole to move, was given by General Wil- 
kinson. 

q. — Have you any knowledge of the circumstances, at- 
tending the letter stated to be lost, other than what you 
received from General Wilkinson? 

^. — I have not. 

The court adjourned to Thursday, the 2d of March, 
1815,10 o'clock, A. M. 

Troy, March 2d 1815. 
The court convened pursuant to adjournment. 

The judge advocate produced and read, the following 
communication from the adjutant and inspector general, 
at Washington. 

* Mr. —— , an American, residing in Upper Canada, since execut- 
ed as a traitor — a strong evidence of the necessity of concealing the 
names, of those employed on secret service, in time of war ; yet since 
the administration of General Washington, a different course prevails 
with our executive, 

VOL. IIL Rr 



314j memoirs by 

CHAP. 
IX 

^^^^■s^ri^^ " Mjntant <^ Inspector GeneraVs Office, 

9.2(1 February, 1815. 
<< Sir, 
Communi- « I have the honour to communicate to you, for the 
fn)rn"the information of the general court martial, of which you 
adjutant are judge advocate, that the recent favourable change in 
tor"gene. our political affairs, will enable the government to dis- 
mal* pensc with the services of some officers, who, during 
the war, were confined to other duties, and they will 
repair to Troy, as witnesses in the case of General Wil- 
kinson. 

« Major-general Macomb, Brigadiers Smitli and Swift, 
Colonels Fenwick and Gumming, and Major Totten., 
have again been instructed to repair to that place. 

•< By order of the secretary of war. 

«D. PARKER, 

Mj. ^ Insp. Gen. 
« E. A. Banckcr, esq. 

Judge advocate,*' 



Docu- Major-general Wilkinson next produced, and oftered 

^^"^^Py*^' as evidence, sundry documents and papers, hereafter de- 
General scribed, and those marked, Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 

Wilkinson ^q ^^.^ inserted in the appendix. 
as evi- * * 

dence. 

1st. — An official report, of Colonel Macomb, dated 
Nov. 8, 1813. 

2d. — Two letters, from Major-general Wilkinson to 
Major-general Hampton, dated, Albany, 16th August, 
1813. 

3d — Requisition, directed to Governor Tompkins, for 
fifteen hundred militia, dated, 21st August, 1813. 

4th. — Governor Tompkin's reply, to the same, dated, 
29th August, 1813. 

5th. — Unpublished letters to, and from, the secretary 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 31^ 

of war, and Major-general Hampton, during the period CHAP, 
included between, the 22d August and the 15th November, ^^• 
1813. s-^'vx^ 

6th. — Published letters between the same, during the 
like period, as contained in the official report to Con- 
gress. 

7tl). — An order from the secretary of war, to Colonel 
Scott, dated, 13th January, 1814. 

8th. — Two letters fr<»m the same, to Colonel Smitli, 
commanding at Sackett's Harbour, in Januaiy, 1814. 

9th. — One ditto to Elbert Anderson, contractor, dated, 
22d September, 1813. 

10th — Order of battle and encampment, in the expe- 
dition down the St. Lawrence. 

lltii. — Certain preliminary correspondence, particu- 
larly between the late secretary of war and General Wil- 
kinson, touching the arrest and trial of the lattei', con- 
sisting of a series of letters, during the period commen- 
cing subsequent to the campaign of 1813, and terminat- 
ing with the arraignment of General Wilkinson, on the 
present charges. 

12th. — Certain correspondence, between Commodore 
M'Donough and General Wilkinson. 

13th. — A correspondence, between General Wilkinson 
and Colonel Scott. 

14th. — Copy of a letter, from Doctor Ross, to the late 
secretary of war. 

The judge advocate objects to their admission, on the Judge ad- 
general ground that, the documents did not apply, to the J^^^^l^^" 

points in issue. their ad- 

That more especially, with respect to the letters and "*^^*'°'' 
papers, touching the arrest of General Wilkinson, and 
certain proceedings connected therewith. It is not even 
pretended, they have a bearing on the charges; nor can 
a circumstance, theiein detailed, at all aifect the nieiit* 
of the present trial. 

They could only be admissible, if the court was authja- 



3ie MEMOIRS BY 

CH \P. rised to canvass the measures* of government, in relation 
^^ to the arrest of officers, and its acts preliminary to a 
trial. 

The court reserved the question, for further conside- 
ration, and adjourned until Friday, the 3d March, 1815, 
at 10 o'clock, A. M. 

Troy, March 3 J, 1815. 

The court convened pursuant to adjournment. 

Having resumed tije consideration of the papers, and 
documents, hefore read, and offered in evidence, by Ge- 
neral Wilkinson. 

The court, after full deliberation, decided, that all the 
numbers from 1 to 10, inclusive, as designated in ycster 
day's proceedings, are admissible testimony. 

The several other papers, and documents, produced 
by General Wilkinson, were, after fidl consideration, re- 
jected by the court. 

No other business being before the court, it adjourned 
to Saturday, the 4th March, 1815, at 10 o'clock, A. M. 

Troy, March ith, 1815. 
Testimo- The court convened pursuant to adjournment. 
feiice^clo- General Wilkinson having closed, the testimony in his 
sed. behalf, the court granted him until Monday, the 13th in- 

stant, to prepare his defence. And accordingly, adjourn- 
ed, until 10 o'clock, in the forenoon, of that day. 

Troy, March 15th, 1815. 

The court convened pursuant to adjournment. 

Major-general Wilkinson appeared, stated to the court, 
that it hajil been impossible for him to complete his de- 
fence, within the time limited, and asked a further indul- 
gence, until Thursday, the I6th, which was granted. 

There being no other business, the court adjourned to 
Wednesday, the 15th instant, at 10 o'clock, A. M. 

* It is to be lamented, that such a power, cannot be interposed, to 
check the tyranny and abuses, which have crept into the army. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 317 

Troijf -March IStlh 1815. CHAP. 
The court convened pursuant to adjournment. '^* 

The following examination, was taken by interrogato- 
ries, transmitted to Lieutenant-colonel M'Pherson, at 
Washington Citj', district of Columbia, and returned 
after the testimony was closed — to wit : 

Examination of Lt. Col.M*PIIERSON, taken by con- 
sent of Major-general Wilkinson, of the one part, and 
E. A. Bancker, esq. judge advocate of the other, to be 
read in evidence, before the general court martial, now 
sitting at Troy, in the state of New York. 

Interrogatories, on the part of Major-general Wilkinson;, 
with their answers. 

1st ^ — How long have you served with, or under Ma- 
jor-general Wilkinson? And will you say, what is iiis 
character, and conduct, as an officer, and a gentleman ? 

^. — I entered the army, in 1808^ since wliich time, I Entered 
have, on several occasions, acted with, and under the in^sos/ 
command of Major-general Wilkinson, as a volunteer in 
his military staff, as an officer of the line, and as his mi- 
litary secretary, and aid-de-camp. He certainly posses- ^leneral 

• 1 I 1 -1 .L 1 J ■, Wilkin- 

ses considerable military talents, natural and acquired, son's cha- 
I consider his conduct as an officer, indicative of perse- ''**^^^'" 
vering zeal for the interests of the service, and the ho- 
nour of the country ; his perception intuitively acute, and 
his memory more correct, and retentive, than of any other 
officer I have known ; possessing at the same time, a fa- 
cility in penetrating the designs of the enemy, and in ar- 
ranging a system of campaign. He is an accomplished 
gentleman; amiable in private life, and from the strong 
sympathies of his temper, unreserved in his confidence. 
I never served under him but in one battle — tliat of La 
Cole, the 30th of March, 181*. He was then distin- ^'^ •^^^^- 
guished for his intrepid conduct. L^ Cole. 

2J^. — Is he, in command, attentive to every object of 
military duty, and strictly regardful of the public pro- 
perty, of every species ? 



318 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. A. — He is. 

'X- 2>d ^ — Has he been attentive, and humane to the sick, 

and solicitous for their comfort and accommodation ? 

Ills solici- »4' — His attention, and humanity to the sick, and his 

tude for solicitude for their comfort and accommodation, form a 
the sick. . n . . 1 -^ , 

conspicuous trait of Ins character ; as was witnessed at 

New Orleans, and Terre aux Boeufs, iri 1809 ; and at 

Sackett's Harbour, French Mills, Malone, and Platts- 

burgh, in 181S and 14. 

4tli Q. — If at French Creek, when the enemy fired on 
our flotilla, the 18 pounders, \\ith which you repulsed 
him, had been dismounted, and the carriages in pieces, .: 
what would have been the eftcct, before you could have 
mounted those pieces, and placed them in battery ? 

The 18 ^, The pi'obable destruction of a great part of our 

preserved flotilla; the Sacrifice of many lives j the j)robable capture 
the flotil- of our ordnance 5 and the defeat of the expedition, to 
Montreal. 

5th ^ — Was you on the expedition, down the St. Law- 
rence, in 1813? And did you observe any unnecessary 
delay, in the movement ; or see any provisions, or stores, i 
wantonly wasted, or destroyed? 

J. — I was in that expedition. I observed no unneces- 
sary delay, in the movement; but as the stores were dis- 
tributed in the different boats, there was a considerable 
destruction of them, particularly the hospital stores, from 
the boats staving against the beach, and in consequence 
of the frequent storms. The hospital stores were some- 
times used by the officers at their messes ; but I did not 
observe any wanton waste, or destruction of them, as the 
army, from the inclemency of the season, with few ex- 
ceptions, suffered extremely with dysentery, and the hos- 
pital stores, however used as food, proved beneficial to 
healtfi. 

6th Q. — Hid you accompany General Brown, on the 
morning of the 10th November ? What was the object of 
his detachment? Did you engage the enemy; where and 
how ? What was his force, and what the conduct of the 
action ? 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 319 

A. — I did. The object of his detachment, I understood, chap. 
was to force the enemy in our front, in order to procure, '^' 
a safe passage down the Saut, to our flotilla. We en- j)^^,^,- _ 
gaged them at a stream called Hoop-pole Creek. Their tion of the 
force consisted, as I afterwards understood, of Scotch Hoop-pole 
militia and Indians, in number four or five hundred, and CireeK. 
were concealed by the woods, on the north-east of the 
creek, the bridge of which, they had previously destroy- 
ed. I was at some distance from the head of our co- 
lumn, with two field pieces, having left Captain Irvine in 
charge of two others, with the main body at Williams- 
burgh. Our riflemen, under the command of Major For- 
syth, ranged along a fence, on the south-west bank of the 
creek, were already engaged with the enemy, when Co- 
lonel Gibson, inspector general, brought me an order 
from Brigadier-general Brown, to move o)» the artillery 
to the scene of action. I did so ; and was about to un- 
limber my guns on a hiU, about sixty fet from the hank of 
the creekf when I received another order* from Colonel 
Gibson, to descend the hill. When I arrived there, the 
riflemen were ill confusion, but were immediately rallied. 
The field pieces opened a fire on the enemy, and in less 
than an hour, they retreated, and were pursued hy the 
elite, commanded by Colonel Macomb, which crossed the 
creek, at some distance above the bridge. Afterwards, 
our troops marched tiirough a narrow road, and across 
some fields, to gain a passage over the creek, above the 
scene of action; and when we arrived at the creek, the 
night became extremely dark, and we were obliged to 
pass through a narrow road or defile, before we reached 
our quarters for the night. 

7th Q.— .Would not a body of armed men, posted on 
the bank of the St. Lawrence, at the Saut, have power to 
attack and destroy troops, descending that rapid in open 
batteaux ? 

* This was from General Brown, who, contrary to the remon- 
strances of Gibson and M'Pherson, insisted on planting the baut^ry 
in a hollow. 



330 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. Ji. — I think they would injure them; but from the 
*^' rapid movement of the boats over the Saut, their fire 
would be uncertain. 

Zth Q. — Did you ever receive^ or did General Wilkin- 
son ever put into your handSf an order from himself to 
Brigadier-general Swartwout, hearing date the 25th of 
M.gHst, ±8151 
Never ve- »3. — I never did receive that order from General Wil- 
*^rder to" kiuson, or from any other person. 

Brigadier- 9th ^. — Did Brigadier-g'eneral Swartwout, ever apply 
iwrrt. *** y^"' ^^^ ^^^ '^^^^ order, or for any other order ? And 
wout, did you promise him, that you would copy said order, 
Au^ 25th ^"^^ '^^"'^ ^^*™ ^'^^ original, or not ? Be particular, as to 
18^3. time, circumstances, and manner? 

j4. — He did apply to me, to have an order copiedf the 
date of which I do not recollect, and I told him I would 
copy itf or have it copied, and hand him the original, as 
he had requested. To the best of my recollection, this 
was in February, 1814. The circumstances, as well as 
I recollect, were these : — There was a dance, on that 
evening, at the house of Judge De Lord, in Plattsburgh, -i 
attended by several officers of the army, exclusive of Ge- ' 
jieral Wilkinson and liis suite, who lived in the house. 
General Swartwout spoke to me, respecting a paper, I 
think he said an order, he had sent to General Wilkin- 
son, and asked me to copy it, or have it copied for him, 
and return it the next morning, as he intended to leave 
town for New York. I replied, tliat I would copy it, or 
have it copied, and return it to him, the next morning. 
Early the next morning, I looked for the paper, but could 
not find it. General Wilkinson seemed very uneasy at 
the loss, and directed Lieutenant Bell and myself, to have 
strict search made for it, and to discover the orderly, to 
whose care it liad been entrusted. Strict enquiry was 
made for it, but it could not be found ', nor could it be 
discovcj'ed, by whom it had been sent. When General 
Swartwout applied to me, to copy the order, or have it 
coi»ieil, there was nothing unusual in his manner. The 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 331 

company was gay, and all official business^ was dispensed chap. 

TV 

with duiing the evening. 

10th ^ — Was not very strict enquiry made, by order 
of Genera] Wilkinson, for a letter saidy by Bngadier- 
general Swartwoutf to have been transmitted to General 
Wilkinson, by an orderly sergeant; and what was the 
result ? 

ji. — There was ; but it could not be discovered. 

11th Q. — Was you not, General Wilkinson's, military 
secretary; did you not enjoy his confidence, and see his 
official correspondence? 

^. — I was. I had his confidence, and saw his official 
correspondence. 

l%th Q. — General Svvartvvout declares, the letter so 
delivered, to an orderly sergeant, contained an original 
order, and was sent to General Wilkinson, to be copied; 
in sucli case, would it not have been put into your hands, 
or those of Lieutenant Bell ? 

v^. — Lif^utenant Bell and myself, took charge of all 
official papers, at head quarters ; but as the paper alluded 
to, was said to have been sent, the evening before, the 
search for it was made, it might have been received, and 
not handed to Lieutenant Bell or myself. 

loth Q. — Did you accompany, the movement of the 
troops into Canada, in March, 1814 ; and was it not by 
'your particular desire, you were suffered to take charge 
of a battery ? 

A.' — I did ; and was honoured with the command of a 
battery, at my particular desire. 

li>th Q. — Was the movement regular or disorderly j 
military or otherwise. 

^. — Considering the bad state of the roads, the depth 
of the snow, the extreme difficulty and almost impossibi- 
lity, of conducting the artillery, the movement was as re- 
gular, as could have been expected. Several times the 
horses of the artillery were changed ; once an eighteen 
pounder broke down ; and from the frequent halts of the 
artillery, tliey lost their stations in the line of march, but 
VOL. III. S 6 



3gS MEMOUIS BY 

CHAP, regained them, previously to the first skirmish with the 

*^' enemy. The movement was Irregular and confused, at 

one time, in consequence of our having passed beyond the 

rttad, which leads to La Cole, and the column counter- 

marcliing to regain that road. 

ISih ((. — Did you command the battery, in the attack 1 

on La C«jle Mill ; who placed that battery ; and were the 

guns posted to fire, against an angle of the stone wall, or 

against the end or side of the house ? 

Witness ^4» — 1 con«manded and placed that battery. The guns 

ed'^and" '^^Pi'^ jiosted t'> fire at the gable end of the building; but 

placed the excepting one or two discharges, from a howitzer, the 

^"^'*>- firing of the artillery, was altogether from a twelve 

pounder. 

10^/i Q. — Did J ou not believe, for some time after the 
battery was opened, that your guns were heavy enough, 
to make a breach in the wall ? 
Thought Jl.—l thought the twelve pounder was heavy enough, 
pounder ^o effect a breach, and placed no reliance on the ho wit- 
heavy zers, as tliey m ere in a w ood, without space of ground to 
to hive act upon. The officer, having charge of them, borne 
efftcteda wounded from the field, and the men in serving them, 
breach. ^^^^^ ^^^^^ ^^^^^ ^j^^^ ^^^^^^ . ^^^, ^1^^ ^^,^ ^^ ^j^^ enemy was 

so destructive, that after I was carried from the field, J 
learned that only two men of eighteen, remained at the 
twelve pounder. 

±7th ^ — Was the cannonade continued longer than you 
desired ; and if so, how long ? 

J, — t wished the cannonade to be continued, until the 
object of it could be effected. J was on the ground about 
an hour and an half, and the firing continued after I was 
carried off. 

ISth ^ — Did you make any report to the General, 
that your guns were too light ? 

A. — ^Not after the cannonade commenced ; but on the 
march towards the mill, I requested Captain Nourse, aid- 
de-camp to Major-general Wilkinson, to ask the Gene- 
ral, to order on a twelve poimder. It was sent; the samr 
used in the action. 



I 



GENERilL WILKINSON. 3S3 

19th ^ — In the depth of the snow, and the great tliaw chap. 
that prevailed, was there time, after you came before La *^ 
Cole, to have erected furnaces for heating balls, to batter j^^^ ^-^^^ 
the fortified house ? to have 

^.— Not to have fired that day. furnlcl 

20th ^. — Could that house, garrisoned by six or eight for l^eat- 
hundred men, with one aperture only into it, have been that dav 
carried, by the assaidt of musketry ? 

ji. — I know not what were the apertures of the build* 
ing. I saw and fired at but one end of it. I conceive, 
that it could not be taken by the fire of musketry, and 
with difficulty, by the charge of bayonets. In my opi- 
nion, eight hundred men, defending such a building as 
the mill at La Cole, are more than equal to three times 
thitt number of assailants, whatever may be the number 
of apertures, unless the building be fired. 

Silst ^ — After the countenance put on by the enemy, 
and the skirmishes we had with them, and our near ap- 
proach to their works, do you believe tliey would have 
received a flag; or that they would have surrendered the 
house, before it was attacked ? 

^. — I do not think they would have received a flag, or 
a summons to surrender before the mUI was attacked. 
The ground was disputed inch by inch, in our advance 
to the mill ; and the conduct of the enemy that day, was 
distinguished by desperate bravery. As a)i instance, one 
company made a charge on our artillery, and at the same Conduct 
instant received its fire, and that of two brigades of in- my. ^^"^ 
fantry. 

22(/ ^. — Were the troops, in action, four hours before 
La Cole mill ? 

J. — There were no troops before the mill, to my know- 
ledge, during four hours, 

23rf Q. — Were the feelings of the oflicers wounded ; or 
the martial spirit of the soldiers destroyed; or the army 
exposed to mortification and disgrace, by that day's 
operations ? 

Jl. — To judge from the expressions of some officers^ 
sivce the action, their feelings were hurt; but I know noi 



MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP. 
IX. 



thing of the effect produced, on the martial K])irit of the 
soldiers. The public, I understand, thought the army 
disgraced, by that day's operations, and in consequence, 
the feelings of many of the army were mortified. In my 
own regard, I have never cared for popular opinion, in 
the performance of military duties; and therefore, my 
feelings on that account, have suffered no uneasiness, 
from the unfortunate result of the action at La Cole. 

QUh ^ — Did you know of Gennal Wilkinson being 
intoxicated, during the campaign of 1813? 

ji. — I did not. 



Cross-interrogatoneSf on the part of the prosecution, with 
their answers, bij Lieutenant-colonel JI'Fhcrson. 



Cross-in- 
terrogato- 
ties, and 
answers. 



If the ene 
my had 
not been 
driven by 



1st ®. — At what hour, on the lOth of November, 1813, 
did you encounter the enemy ? How were they posted, 
and at what distance from Barnhart's? 

A. — To the best of my recollection, at about two, or 
Iialf past two o'clock, P. M. 1 have already described 
their position, in answer to the sixth interrogatory of 
Major-general Wilkinson. I think, the scene of action 
was about eight, or nine miles from Barnhart's. 

Qd ^ — Did General Brown, in his march with the 
advance, discover any batteries, or fortified points, in- 
tended to annoy, and harass the movement of the flotilla 
down the Saut. W^ere these at such places, as to expose 
the flotilla to the fire of the enemy, without a possibility 
of effecting a landing, or in any other way counteracting 
tiieir operations, and finally defeating and capturing 
them ? 

A. — General Brown discovered, and had a block house 
burned, on his march with the advance. Its position was 
a good one, from which to assail the flotilla, in its descent 
of the Saut. But when our troops surprised it, it was 
without cannon. The enemy kept in advance of us, and 
I likewise understood in the woods to our left. Had they 
not been driven by us, they would inevitably have ha- 
rassed the flotilla J judging from their disposition to skir- 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 335 

mish with us, and from tlie nature of the country, it CHAP, 
would liave been impossible to land troops from the 
boats, and capture them ; for they would either have de- General 
stroyed our men in their attempt to land, or retired to the Brown, he 
■woods, where they could not have been pursued, with ^ave ha- 
any degree of safety to ourselves. rassed the 

3d Q. — Did General Brown communicate information 
of his encounter witli the enemy, on the 10th, to General 
Wilkinscm ? At what hour, and by whom was the intelli- 
gence sent ? 

ji. — I know not, when such information was sent, as I 
was not of the General'? staff; although, I recollect to 
have heard, that Captain Austin, his aid-de-canip, had 
been despatched to the main army, with the intelligence. 
When he set out, or when he arrived, I know not. 

4th Q. — By what time, had General Brown, with his 
detachment, removed all obstructions, and secured a free 
passage for the flotilla, down the Saut ? 

J, — He engaged, and drove a detachment of the ene 
my, at about two, or half after two o'clock, P. M. on the 
10th of November, as already stated. This detachment 
was reported to be the advance of a strong force in our 
front. After dark we passed through a narrow* road, or 
defile, before we reached our quarters for the night. I 
know not, where the enemy established his; and, conse- 
quently, cannot say, with what security the flotilla could 
have passed, over the Saut. 

5th Q. — Was a messenger despatched, to apprise Ge- 
neral Wilkinson of this ? Who was the person sent, and 
at what hour ? 

J, — I am entirely ignorant of the circumstances al- 
luded to. 

6^^ Q. — Have you any reason to believe, that General 
Wilkinson received tiiis information on the 10th, or early 
on the 11th of November; if so, state it? 

J. — I know nothing of this messenger; but if Captain 
Austin, who I understood, was despatched to General 

* Through a wood, with " darkness visible," 300 men could have 

discomfiUed the detachment. 



326 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. Wilkinson, was instructed to communicate this iiitelli- 
*^" gence, he certainly could have reported at the General's 
quarters that night 5 unless prevented by some accident, 
or obstacle on the route. 

Tth Q. — From the force, and position of the enemy, on 
the 10th, was the detachment of General Brown necessa- 
ry to protect the movement of the flotilla ? 
General ^ I tliink it was : for if the enemy's whole force, con- 
Brown s sigtej of the party we engaged on the 10th, and without 
rnent ne- cannon, the flotilla might have descen»Ied the Sautj but I 
motect*° cannot say without a loss of lives; but if tiiis party were 
the flotil- only a detachment, from a stronger force, as was report- 
ed, then I conceive the flotilla would have been seriously 
injured, in the descent, and in great probability many 
lives sacrificed. 

Sth ^- — Do you recollect, seeing Brigadier-general 
Swartwout, in the evening of the 22d of February, 1814, 
at the house of judge De Lord, at Plattsburgh ? Did not 
General Swartwout speak to you, about an original or- 
der, of General Wilkinson, relative to the mounting of 
the dragoons, and furnishing transport for the expedition 
down the St. Lawrence ? Had not this order been receiv- 
ed that afternoon, at head quarters, for the purpose of 
taking a copy for General Wilkinson ? And did you not 
inform General Swartwout, a copy had not as yet been 
taken ; but that you would return the original to him, the 
next morning by 10 o'clock? 

j4. — I saw Brigadier- general Swartwout, at the house 
of judge De Lord, in Plattsburgh, one evening in February, 
1814, although, I do not recollect the day of the month. 
He spoke to me about an order, sent by him to General 
W^ilkinson, which he said was very important to him, 
and asked me to copy, or have it copied for him. I do 
not recollect, his saying it was relative to the mmmting 
of the dragoonSf and furnishing transport for the cxpedi- 
tio7if down the St. Lawrence; althougli 1 do not say, po- 
sitively, he did not say so : for tlie precise words of the con- 
versation, may have escaped my memory. That order, 
had notf to my knowledge^ been received that afternoon. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 3S7 

' or at any other time, at head quarters, for the purpose of chap 
taking a copy for General Wilkinson, or for any other 
purpose whatever; and to the best of my recollection, I 
did tell General Swartwout, I wonld return him the ori- 
ginal, the next morninis;, or by 10 o'clock the next morn- 
ing, which, I do not recollect. 

9th ^ — Have you any reason to believe, Major-gene> 
ral Wilkinson, ever received that order, or knew of its 
being received. 

A. — 1 beg leave to object to this interrogatory. If I 
thought, that General Wilkinson ever had received that 
order, or knew of its having been received, I should have 
regarded iiis denial of such reception, as base and treache- 
rous, and instantly relinquished the duties of his staff. 

10^/t ^. — At La Cole mill, was there any unnecessary 
and wanton exposure, of the lives of the men ? Any defect 
in the dispositions made for the attack, or the manner in 
which it was executed ? Any want of cannon to effect a 
breach in the wall? Or were there insuperable difficulties, 
in bringing guns of sufficient calibre, to the scene of action ? 

J. — 1 must object to this interrogatory. The lives of ^^^^^'P- 

the men, under my immediate command, were the most attack oa 

exposed, and obstinacy has been attributed to me, in not La Cole, 

having reported to the General, the weak effect of the difficul- 

artillery. The troops were well formed for attack. Two ^^^^ ^*' . 

tendinJT it^ 
brigades of infantry flanked the cannon. The reserve, 

. tmder Brigadier-general Macomb, was in the rear, and 
a detachment under the command of Colonel Miller, and 
the riflemen under Major Forsyth, across the La Cole, 
in the rear of the mill. Our musketry could have no 
effect on thick walls, and as to the execution of the artil- 
lery, but few shot penetrated through them. Those 
which did, I have since understood, struck near the roof 
of the building, where the wall was least thick. Had the 
fire of the artillery been directed from its commencement 
to this point, the twelve pounder might have been heavy 
enough; but to batter a breach, at a line below the centre 
of the wall, which was the lowest part we saw, in conse= 
qucnce of a bank in its front, heavier metal than a twelve 



328 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP pounder would be necessary : for after the action, it was 
*^ discovered, that many of the shot struck the mill and re- 
bounded ; notwithstanding, the shot which did enter, 
obliged the enemy to attempt the charge, in which tliey 
suffered so severely. There were gi'eat difficulties, in 
bringing cannon of any calibre to the scene of action; the 
snow on tlie ground in many places was very deep; the 
march was embarrassed by a creek, over which we threw 
a bridge of rails ; and I was under the necessity of mov- 
ing, without the caisson of the twelve pounder, in conse- 
quence of the delay, occasioned by the extreme difficulty 
of dragging, it over a marshy field, covered with snow; 
and had determined to attack with the cartridges, con- 
tained in the ammunition boxes. By great exertion, 
however, the conductor of the caisson arrived, before the 
lire of the artillery commenced. After the action, I 
heard, that Major Pitts, of the light artillery, had been 
ordered on with the eighteen pounder, which had broken 
down in the morning, but did not succeed in coming to 
action, in consequence of the bad roads. 

11/A ^. — What was the number of our effective force, 

and that of the enemy, during the attack? And at wliat 

time in the day, did a reinforcement arrive, for the enemy? 

Our effec ^, — Our effective force, I supposed to have been three 

^000 the thousand. Tlie number of the enemy in the mill, was 

enemy's 5 rated at five or six hundred. I iieard afterwards, that 

a reinforcement with cannon, the strength of which I did 

not learn, arrived from the Isle aux Noix, that evening, 

but I know nothing positively respecting it. The enemy 

threw many rockets, and fired cannon sliot from a gun 

boat or galley. 

12th ^ — What number of troops could act with effect 
witiiin the mill ; and ho v many did it actually contain, in 
the first of the attack ? 

ji. — I think four hundred at least, firing with small 
arms ; but 1 am ignorant of the number it contained, at 
any one time. 

loth Q Were our troops at any time inactive, during 

the day, at La Cole Mill, and how long ? 



or 600. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 3S9 

A — When the artillery moved to its ground, there was CH\.P, 
an ineffective fire of musketry. Tlie brigades of Smith ^^' 
and BisscI!, weie then formed on the right, and left, of the Yiuo\M^ of 
nai'rovv road, occupied by the battery, and did not fire, "« nactir 
until tlie enemy made a charge on it, when they received ,.i'|,g^\he 
from those brigades and the artillery, at the same in- fli»y at La 
stant, a most destructive fiie. The reserve under Bri- 
gadier-general Macomb, did not engage, that I know of, 
at any time. The previous skirmishing, and the attack 
on the mill, occupied, perhaps, four hours and a half, or 
five hours. I do not conceive, tliat troops are inactive, 
when (snder arms, on the field of battle, in face of an 
enemy. Whether they move or not, tliey are, in a mili- 
tary sense, considered active in the line of their duty. 

\Atli ^ — Did not the army retire at nighty and was 
such retreat judicious or necessary ? 

j1. — The army retired when it became dark. Many 
opinions were expressed, respecting the conduct of the 
action. I endeavoured to execute the orders given me, 
and imputed faults to no one. But if my opinion he re- 
quired by the interrogatory, it is, that the army should 
Lave attempted to force a passage into the mill, and em- 
ployed the bayonet,* at every sacrifice ; or have renewed 
the attack, with heavier ordnance, at day-light the next 
morning : although, if the enemy had advanced, in such 
force, as was stated at Champhiin, in general orders, and 
attacked us at night, it is impossible to conjecture the re- 

* The dauntless spirit, and refined honour of this young officer, 
are notorious; but in the expression of this sentiment, he betrays a 
want of th^t judgment in military affairs, which is to be acquired 
by experience only. The idea of carrying-, an elevated quadrantjU' 
lar sione buildini;-, by the bayonet, on vvliich a twelve pounder, had 
failed to make an impression, is more gallant, than judicious; parti- 
cularly, when it is understood, that every aperture, of this build- 
tng, was burricadoed, and lliat it was defended, by a competent 
force, of veteran troops, wnder experienced officers. To take such a 
post, with small arms, has often been attempted, but never succeed-* 
ed, from the time of Xenophon, who failed in such an attempt, down 
to the present day, 

vox. HI. T t 



330 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, suit of ati onset on our fatigued troops. I can offer no 
^^' other opinion on the subject, as f am ignorant of the ob- 
ject of the expedition. I judged from the genwal order, 
issued at Champlain, and the report of a deserter, who 
told me, that the British designed to attack us at Cham- 
plain, tliat the object of our march was to give battle to 
their army. 

15tk ^ — Were the errors, or defects, in the plans, 
movements, and operations of the day, imputable to the 
commanding general ? 

ji. — 1 must object to this interrogatory, as being too 
general; but will answer any queries, embracing parti- 
cular plans, movements, or operations of the army on 
that day. 

I6th ^ — Were red-hotshot used to fire the roof; and 
wljat was the success of the trial ? 

^4. — There were not. 

ITth ^. — Do you know any other matter or thing, re- 
lating to, and material for the prosecution in tlje trial ? 
If so, be pleased to state the same fully and particularly? 

J. — With regard to the first and second specification, 
of the charge, I know nothing, except that I saw Gene- 
ral Wilkinson, in October, 1813, at Sackctt's Harbour, 
and thought him too sick for exposure, to the inclemency 
of the season. With regard to the third specification of 
tlie charge, we were not, at any time, fully prepared for 
the descent of the St. Lawrence, considering the lateness 
of the season, and the nature of the expedition. Had it 
Leen delayed, until there was no possibility of perform- 
ing it, it M'ould have been better for the country. Of the 
4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th specifications of the charge, I 
know nothing. Of tlie ninth, I understood, that such 
councils of war, had convened, but never knew the Ge- 
neral was suspected of the motives, attributed to him in 
the specification. Of the tenth specification, my opinion 
is, that the General exerted himself beyond the strength 
of his constitution, throughout the expedition. Of the 
eleventh specification^ 1 know that such detachment was 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 331 

' made, but I think it was done on just military principles, chap, 
and was necessary. I was not with tlie army at Wil- 
liamsburgh, to observe the measures taken to defeat the 
enemy. Of the twelfth specification, I know nothing. 
The thirteenth I have already deposed to. I am igno- 
rant of the fourteenth; have deposed to the 15th j and 
know nothing of the sixteenth. 

The court will please to observe, I have referred to 
*he charge and its specifications, as contained in the 
';Qice of the adjutant and inspector general. 

R. H. M'PHERSON, 
Major Light Artillery, ^' Lt. Col. by brevet 

District of Columbia, Washington County, City of 
Washington, Februai-y 27th, 1815, Lieutenant-colonel 
Robert H. M'Pherson, came before me, the undersigned, 
and made oath, in due form, that the answers made by 
him to the questions contained in the foregoing sheets, 
attached by a seal together, are true, so far as they are 
stated from his own knowledge, and agreeably to his 
)wn belief. 

Given under my hand, the day and year above written. 

ROBERT BRENT. 

An application was made on the part of General Wil- General 
kinson, to extend tlie time allowed him, to prepare his appi^ert? 
defence, until Friday morning. the court. 

The court granted it and adjourned to Friday the irth ^^1^^^^ ^^ 

/■nstant, 10 o'clock, A. M. prepare 

his de- 



Troy, March 17th, lSi5„ 
The court convened pursuant to adjournment. 

Major-general Wilkinson appeared, and made the fol- 
lowing defence. 



fence. 



333 MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP. 
X. 



CHAPTER X. 



Exordiiim. — Preliminary remarks. — J^arrative.'— General 
Wilkinson receives orders, to ussiime the command at JNTsw 
Orleans. — Declaration of ivar. — Correspondence with the 
Secretary of ffar, — Order to take Mobile. — Fort Char- 
lotte surrenders by convention, the 14th of Jlpril, 1813. — 
General Wilkinson takes possession of Mobile Point. — Oc- 
cupies the right bank of the Perdiuo. — Receives orders to 
join General Dearborn, at Sacketfs Harbour. — General 
Wilkinson^s letter to Secretary .irmst7-ong, of 2Sd May, 
1813 Secretary .irmsirong^ s letter to General Wilkin- 
son, ±2th March, 1813. — General Wilkinson leaves JVkw 
Orleans. — State of the Creek nation, at the time he tra- 
versed the wilderness. — Jirrives at Milledgeville, and 
writes to the Secretary of War and Major-general Lewis. 
— Reflections on the shameful conduct of General Arm- 
strong. — General Wilkinson arrives at the seat of go- 
vernment. — Secretary of War*s jiroject, submitted to Jiinu 
' — His observations thereon. — The Secretary's reasoning, 
and reflections thereon. — The Secretary of War decides on 
an attack against Montreal. — Promises naval co-opera- 
tion on the St. Lawrence. — Reflections on the deception of 
the Secretary of War. — His project of the 8th of Februa- 
ry. — His estimate of the cnemifs force in Upper Canada. 
-^Stipulations between the Secretary of War and Gene- 
ral Wilkinson. — Force assigned to General Wilkinson, 
14,383 men, on jmper. — .Additional reiuforcements pro- 
mised. — Transport for 10,000 men, reported ready at 
Lake Ontario. — Ammunition, camp equipage, ^x. stated 
to be abundant at SacketCs Harbour. — Professed objects 
of the Secretary of War, in travelling north. — General Wil- 
kinson's confdencc in the Secretary of War. — He leaves 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 333 

Washington. — Arrives at SacketVs Harbour. — Council chap. 
of war, favours an attack on Montreal. — Wretched 
condition of the troops. — Defciency of transport — Refer- 
ence to correspondence with the Secretary of War — Ge- 
neral Wilkinson issues orders. — Jissigiis the command at 
Sackett's Harbour to Brigadier-general Brown ^ and de- 
parts for Fort George. — Touches at Oswego.— .Arrives at 
Pidtneyville, in a high fever. — Lands at the month of Ge- 
nesee river. — Proceeds to JS*iagara, and arrives there in 
exceeding had health. — State of the troops and transport. 
— Running fght between the fleets. — Commodore Chann- 
ccy chases the Britishfieet into Jimherst Bay. — Our squa- 
dron returns to Mlagara, the 2'ith of September. — The 
hostile squadrons again engage off Fork. — Sir James Veo 
driven to the head of the lake, and Commodore Chaun- 
cey prevented following him, by the weather. — Gene- 
ral Wilkinson^s suggestion to Commodore Chauncey, and 
his answer. — Flotilla proceeds for Sacketfs Harbour.-^ 
Commodore Chauncey takes four transports, with enemy*s 

troops on board Causes of delay at Fort George, known 

to the Secretary of War. — General Wilkinson forbidden, 
by the Secretary of War, to attack the enemy in his front' 
— The former arrives at Sacketfs Harbour, much indis- 
posed Secretary Jirmstrong^s rejmrt to Congress, con- 
trasted with facts. — Reasons in favour of the attack of 
Kingston. — Statement of occurrences on the 4th of Octo- 
ber. — Correspondence with Commodore Channcey quoted. 
— The Secretary of War concurs with General Wilkinson, 
in the attack of Kingston. — The secretary decides upon 
attacking Montreal. — Militai'y axiom. — A case iii point. 
— The secretary's intrigues with General Hampton. — He 
violates his stipulation with General Wilkinson Gene- 
ral Wilkinsoyi'S letter of 24th August, quoted. — He invites 
the secretary to an interview, at JM'iagara. — General 
Hampton's contempt of General Wilkinson's authority. — 
— The Secretary of War, in his report to Congress, gar- 
bles General Wilkinson's letters. — Military system of es- 
pionage introduced. — General Wilkinson's letter to the 



334! MEMOIRS BY 

secretariff respecting General Hampton^s misconduct.-^ 
The military ignorance of the Secretary of War. — Un- 
fortunate rencontre tvith Colonel King, and its conse- 
quences. 

MR. PRESIDENT, AND GENTLEMEN OF THE COURT. 

CHAP. The case before you, however afflicting to the sen- 

,^^^-v'-s,^ sibilities of a soldier, has become too common in our his- 
Exor- tory, as well as that of other nations. The conflicts of 
™' ministers and generals, appear to be the necessary con- 
sequences, of every unsuccessful military expedition; 
failure produces discontent, discontent murmurs, and 
murmurs clamour. It is supposed, there has been a 
fault some wliere, and the public curiosity must be satis- 
fied by public enquiry. AVas national benefit, the gene- 
ral result of such resorts, it would be well to have re- 
course to them, but as controversies among the servants 
of the government, rarely advance the public interest, 
they should not be permitted on slight grounds. An 
upright, and able minister, would prefer to rest, his poli- 
tical standing, on his own reputation, sooner than attempt 
to prop it, by the sacrifice of a zealous, faithful, but un- 
fortunate General. Such was the conduct of Chatham, 
whose example, it was impossible, an Armstrong should 
imitate. 

But my case, is, perhaps, witliout a precedent in the 
history of the world; that of a minister, of high stand- 
ing, and splendid talents, seducing an officer, from an 
honourable command, and the fairest prospects of fame, 
to embark him on an expedition, unprovided with the 
necessary means of execution, and clogged, and fettered 
with insuperable obstacles; and because of its failure, to 
save himself from popular odium, he resorts to tricks, 
stratagems, and perfidy, to throw upon the shoulders of the 
object of his seduction, the blame, which lie himself should 
bear. And this officer, a man with whom he had been 
associated, during the most interesting scenes of the 
American revelution ; and to whom, he professed to be 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 335 

Uound, by the sacred ties of confidence,* and friend- chap. 
ship. ^■ 

Mr. President, I disclaim high colouring, on an occa- 
sion of such gravity, and should disdain to excite the 
feelings, or to clieat the understandings, of my judges, 
were I capable. The disclosures about to be made, will 
test the truth of my assertions, and establish my title to 
credibility. 

From the common anxiety, we all have felt, to con=. 
elude this procrastinated investigation, with as little de- 
lay as possible, I have undertaken to perform in twelve 
days, a work, which, to be well done, would have occu- 
pied a month. It must not, therefore, be expected, that 
I should present this defence, in that connected and pre- 
pared state, with that regularity, and complete arrange- 
ment, and analysis, of the testimony, which it was my 
desire to submit, to the deliberate understanding of this 
court, and to the sober reflections of my countrymen. 

Before I enter, on the investigation of the testimony, I PreliinU 
deem it a matter, of propriety towards the court, to state marks^ 
briefly, the course I shall pursue. It will be recollected, 
that a report, touching the merits, of that part of the 
campaign of 1813, in which I was engaged, was, on the 
call of the House of Representatives, in their session of 
1813-14, made up by my accuser, and presented! to that 
honourable body; and it was admitted by the court, that, 
that report should be taken, as prima facie testimony, in 
the enquiry at issue. I have availed myself of this admis- 
sion, to bring to the view of the court, such parts of it, 
as tend to explain, the motives of ray actions, and the 
principles of my conduct, from the first order I received, 
in the dawn of the late war, to the termination of my 
command, on the northern frontier, in April last. 

I shall then proceed, to compare, and apply, the testi- 

• Should General Armstrong, deny this assertion, I shall exhibit 
evidences of the fact, from his own pen. 

f By President Madison, who thereby made himself, the vehicle of 
Armstrong's misrepre^^ntstions- 



336 MEMOIRS BY 



X. 



CHAP, mony adduced before the court, and shall conclude, with 
^ a brief summary of remarks, and deductions. In form- 
ing a judgment, upon the whole, or any distinct part, of 
my conduct, 1 flatter myself, the court will be determin- 
ed by circumstances, as they appeared, at the time; by 
tl»e decisions of the moment, and the apparent exigencies 
of the occasion; and not by an after knowledge of facts, 
which could not be attained, until the exigency had 
ceased. 

NARRATIVE. 

Ordered On the eve of the war, which has been recently ternii- 



to take 
command 



nated, with so much eclat to our arms, and honour to our 

at New country, I received an order from the secretary of war, 

Orleans, ijpjjri^g jate, the 9th of April, 1813, «to repair to New 

Orleans, and take command, of the troops and stations, 

within the territories of Orleans and the Mississippi.''* 

The brig Enterprise, Captain Elakeley, was ordered for 

my voyage, and I embarked, as soon as she was equip- 

Decla- ped for sea. After a tedious passage, we arrived near 

ration of j^^^ Orleans, the 9th of Julv, on which day, I received 

war, • '' 

I9ih June, the following orders and advice, from the secretary of 

'^' war, bearing date, the 19th of June. " War is declared 

against Great Britain. Vou will make such arrangement, 

and disposition, of the means and force, subject to your 

coNTRoui., and adopt such measures, as the knowledge 

of this event may, in your judgment^ require.^' 

I am sensible, a detailed account, of the professional 

engagements, whicli occupied my attention in the south, 

is not strictly relevant to the case, before this honourable 

Corres- tribunal; yet, a brief exp<»sition may serve to illustrate, 

with se- my general conduct in command, and render justice to 

^■^^^'■>'°^ my zeal, and exertions, in the public service; and for 

these reasons, I venture to trespass on their time, the 

following extracts from my letters, to the honourable 

William Eustis, secretary of war. 



See Appendix, No. XXV. 



war. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 337 

CHAP. 

« Mxo Orleans, July Q^d, 1812. .^^^^^^ 
♦» The oi'dnance return, inclosed, will exhibit to you, July 22d, 
the state of that department, as far as my information ^ ^' 
has readied, and 1 would it presented, a more agreeable 
aspect; the battering cannon being badly equipped, and 
destitute of the necessary ammunition, fixed and unfixed. 
Vou will perceive, also, we have but a small purtion of 
antmunition, prepared for our musketry, and by the re- 
turn of the 3d regiment, that the men's arms are in bad 
condition. The muskets, reported, at this place, are 
said to be damaged, hut I have not bad time, to make a 
personal inspection. The arrival of our ordnance ves- 
sels, and active industry, may, 1 hope, soon repair these 
defects, and render our situation as respectable, as our 
numbers may permit. 

<* I am labouring to excite a spirit which may bring 
out, the force of the country, and if I am not deceived, 
by professions and appearances, I think I shall in six 
weeks, have fifteen hundred volunteers, in arms.'* 

« JVew Orleans, July 28th , 1812. 

" I shall secure the pass of the Rigolets* (the passage July 28th, 
into Lake Pontchartrain) and have my eyes, at the same 
time, on the mouths of the Mississippi, and the bay of 
Mobile, the command of which, as well as the harbour of 
Pensac:)la, will be found all important, should the war 
progress; but these objects will cost money, and there is 
the rub, yet, 1 will do my duty, and trust to the liberality 
of the government." , 

« JVew Orleans, August iZth, 1812. 

*• I have been able to discover, about three thousand Aii£j.l2th, 
six hundred, stan of arms, in the department, but they ^'^^^ 
are i-eported damaged, and unfit for service, and this, 
certainly, for want of attention, as many of them are 



* The Petite CoquiUe. 

VOL. nr. u u 



338 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, new. In this situation, I am exerting every faculty, to 
^ make the most of my means, and, under God, I hope the 
event, may not disappoint my expectations. The posses- 
sion of Mobile, and Fensacola, would cure many griefs, 
but, tliey must be held afterwards, and tiiere is the great 
difficulty, yet, I do not believe it insurmountable, I would, 
indeed, have the first place in ten days, but dare I exercise 
my discretion, for the yublic good, after all my grievous 
sufferings^ for having saved the nation, ^row a civil war? 
I will think of it, because I am ready to sacrifice myself, 
in the cause of my country, or in the defence of innocent, 
unoffending fellow -citiaens,^* 



« JS*ew Orleans, September 22d, 1812. 

Sept. 22d, <' I am still here, detained by tlie necessary attentions, 
to the reparation of tlie effects of the late hurricane, and 
the defence of the river, which must, I find, depend, 
chiefly, on our stationary batteries. 1 am preparing a 
fascine work, at the BalixiC, (mouth of the Mississippi) to 
mount six twenty fo7ir pounders, four nines, and four 
sixes ; and a battery, of six twenty four pounders, and an 
eight inch hoxvit'zer, to co-operate with Fort St, Philip, 
(Placquemine) where we now have, 24 twentyfour poun- 
ders, and two howitx>ers, in battery, and I shall endea- 
vour to increase the number, to thirty-six guns. 

(' When I arrived here, we had not a single piece, of 
feld artillery, equipped for service. In ten days more, I 
expect we shall be able, to man twenty pieces, from eight 
inch howitzers and twelve pounders, down to fours, and 
at tlie present moment, 1 trust, I have eight pieces safe, 
at Fort Stoddart." 



1812. 



" Mw Orleans, December 29th, 1812. 

Dec. 29th, <«The 7th regiment, is in quarters here, and, the 2d 
and 3d, are under orders of march, one, or both of these 
corps, will take post at the English Turn, (15 miles below 
New Orleans j) where I have determined to finish the for- 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 339 

tifications, on which, thirty or forty thousand dollars, CHAP, 
were expended several years since. 

« It has been hinted to me, that I may be recalled from 
tJiis quarter, I do not credit the report, yet, I think pro- 
per to express the hope, that it may not be the case; because 
I can do more here, than elsewhere; because it would ex- 
pose me to great expense, and would separate me from 
my family; and because, my constitution, wouid 

NOT NOW BEAR, A NORTHERN CLIME." 

Whilst my attention and exertions, wei-e thus directed 
to the security, of the important trast, confided to me, I 
received, on the 14th March, 1813, the following orders, 
from General Armsti'ong, who had been appointed secre- 
tary of war, to take possession of Mobile, then occupied 
by the Spanish troops, and to assei't the jurisdiction, of 
the United States, to the river Perdido. 

« JFar Office, 16th February, 1813. 
« Sir, 

«* The law of which a copy is enclosed, is the result in Order to 
part, of the late secret proceedings of Congress. I has- [,^^ °" 
ten to forward it to you, and to add, that you will imme- 
diately, on receipt of this despatch, proceed with so much 
of the force under your command, as you may deem suf- 
ficient, to possess yourself of the territory in question^ 
and particularly of the town, and the fortress of Mobile. 
" I am, Sir, with great respect, 
«< Your most obedient, 

*« And very humble servant, 
(Signed) "JOHN ARMSTRONG. 

'i General W'dkinson, JVew Orleans.''* 

" An Act, authorising the President of the United States, to 
take possession of a tract of country^ lying south of the 
Mississippi territory, and west of the Perdido river. 

" Sec 1. — Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Re- 
presentatives, of the United States, in Congress assembled. 



34,0 MEMOIRS BY 

CH\p. That the Presitlcnt be authorised to occupy, and hold all 
^ that tract of country, called West Florida, which lies 
west of the Perdido, not now in the possession of the 
United States. 

" Sec. 2 -^nd be it further enacted^ that for the pur- 
pose of occupyin,a;, and holding tiie country aforesaid, 
and of aiFirding protection to the inhabitants thereof, 
nnder the authority of the United States, the President 
may employ sucji parts, of the military and naval force, of 
the United States, as he may deem necessary. 

« Sec. 3. — ^nd be it further enacted^ that for defraying 
the necessary expenses, twenty thousand dollars are 
hereby appropriated, to be paid out of any monies in the 
treasury, not otherwise appropriated, and to be applied 
for the purposes aforesaid, under the direction of the 
President. 

«H. CLAY, 
Speaker of the House of Representatives. 

«WM. CRAWFORD, 

President of the SenatCf pro tern. 

^< February \2th, 1813. — ArpRovED. 

"JAMES MADISON.'' 



Fort Char- On the 14th of April, I got possession of Fort Char- 
renders'by l^'tte, by a convention with tlie Spanish commander, 
conven- and with the very cannon and ammunition, taken at that 
General P^acp, t established, and endowed the battery, at Mobile 
Wilkinson Point, which has, since, destroyed the Hermes sloop of 
session of war, and protected the bay, against the cruisers of the 
Mobile enemy. On the 5th of May, I took possession of the 
right bank of the Pordido, and opened an inland commu- 
nication, from thence to the town of Mobile, before un- 
known; and having made every practicable arrangement, 
for the maintenance of the ground I had taken ; I sailed 
for New Orleans, and arrived there the 19tb, when I re- 
ceived an order, from Genera! Armstrong, secretary of 
war, of which the following is a copy. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 34-1 

CHAP. 

« War Department f lOth March, 1813. ^J^^,^. 
*>i Sii> 

« On receipt of this despatch, yoii will proceed witli ^"j^^^np. 
the least possible delay, to the head quarters of Major- ral Dear- 
general Dearborn. These are now at Sackett's Har- s^I!ket?s 
hour, on Lake Ontario. Harbour 

« I have the honour to be. Sir, 
« Your most obedient, 

« And very humble servant, 
(Signed) "JOHN ARMSTRONG. 

^** Major-general Wilkinson^ 

JVew Orleans, or Mobile.^' 

This letter of the secretary, had arrived at New Or- 
leans, only ten days, before my return, of which I took a 
certificate, from T. B. Johnson, esq., the post-master, » 
and answered it by the ensuing mail, on the 23d of May, 
in tlie following terms. 

« JVexv Orleans, May 23d, 1813. 
« Sir, 

« I arrived in this city, from the Perdido, on the Answer tr 
morning, of the 19th instant, and had the honour to re- ^^^, 
ceive your mandate, of the 10th of March, which had strong', 
preceded me, ten days only, owing to the reiterated 
failures of the mail. 

« However injurious it may prove, to my domestic 
concerns, I receive this order with pleasure, and shall 
obey it with alacrity, becai.se it may fiirnish me, a more 
favourable opportunity, than I can find elsewhere, to tes- 
tify to the world, my readiness to offer my best faculties, 
and to lay down my life, if necessary, for the honour 
and independence of our country. 

" I am. Sir, &c. &;c. 
(Signed) "JAMES WILKINSON". 

« The hon. John Armstrong, 

Secretary of War,'* • 



343 



MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP. 
X. 



It will be seen, tVom my letter, of the 29tli December, 
to Mr. Secretary Eustis, that, although this was an un- 
expected claim, on my services, yet, as nothing is difficult 
to a soldier, -where duttj commandSf I obeyed the order n\ ith 
complacency, and did not waste a moment, in my prepa- 
rations, to take a long farewell of the region of my prefe- 
rence; but, as if he doubted my willingn;'ss, to abandon 
Louisiana, my quondam friend, to a peremptory man- 
date, added the following seductive, semi-official letter, 
bearing date at Washington, March 12th, 1813. 



« Dear Sir, 

« By the last mail. 



I transmitted you an order, to 
come to the north, and take a share in the more active, 
and interesting scenes of the war. If that order reaches 
you, at New Orleans, you will commit the Mobile busi- 
ness, to such officer as you will think, best entitled to 



General 
Arm- 

st renin's 
letter to 
General 
Wilkin- 
son, 

isi's. * your confidence. If it overtake you on your route, from 
New Orleans to Mobile, you will go on, execute prompt- 
ly, and hasten to the north. Why should you remain in 
your land of cifpress, when patriotism, and ambition, 
equally invite, to one where grows the laureU Again, 
the men of the north and east, want you ; those of the 
south and ivest, are less sensible of your merits, and less 
anxious to have you among them, I speak to you with 
a frankness, due to you and t(J myself, and again advise, 
come to the north, and come quickly. If our cards be 
well played, we may renew the scene of Saratoga, 
" Yours truly, 
(Signed) « JOHN ARM STRONG.'' 



Leaves I ^^^t New Oi'lpRns on the 10th of June, and landed at 

New Or- Mini's fort, on tiie Tensaw, since destroyed by the Creek 

iCSiWS 

10th June. Indians. The war, whicli soon after broke out with that 
nation, was then in an incipient state, and if I may judge 
from the orcurrencrs, which took place during my jour- 
ney, would probably have burst on my head, but from the 
knowledge the natives possessed, of my rank and charac- 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 343 

ter, the audacity of my conduct towards them; and the (;h.\p. 
caution with which I marched and encamped. ^^* 

On the 6th of July, I announced njy arrival, at Mil- ^ri-jves at 
ledgeville, in Georgia, to the secretary of war, and liav- MlUedi'e. 
ing just heard, of the premature death of. General Pike, ^[^Z' ^nd 
a former protegee, and a dear friend ; and being led to writes to 
believe, by the accounts I had received, that he rashly Lewts* 
threw away his life ; I gave vent to the feelings of the 
moment, in a hasty letter,* of the 6th of July, to Major- 
general Lewis, wiiich I enclosod, unsealedf to General 
Armstrong, subject to his discretion^ fur be had been our 
juvenile friend, and military associate, in the interesting 
campaign, of ±777. It was impossible I should suspect, 
that this offering of friendship, this ebullition of sensibi- 
lity, that conveys no sentiment, which shrouds no insi- 
nuation, unworthy a soldier, an hundred degrees my su- 
perior, in experience and knowledge, could have been 
misinterpreted to my prejudice j and secretly stored up,f Conduct 
to rise in judgment against me, by the man, who so late Arm- 
as the 12t[i of March, had with professed frankness, and strong. 
a kind heart, desired to entwine my brows with Icmrelf 
and invited me to the renewal, of the scene of Sarato- 
ga. Hallowed scene! sacred to every contemporary , who 
ministered in the glorious event, which saved his coun- 
try from vassal! age, and ratdced it among the nations of 
the earth. The recollection f alone f should have saved the 
tvar worn veteran, from suspicions, disgraceful to the mail 
of sense, and unworthy a man of honour. 

I rea( bed the seat of government the 31st July, and on Arrives at 

the 5th of August, the secretary of war placed his pro- lovern-*^ 

ject, of the 23d of the preceding month, in my hands, and ment. 

requested my opinion of it, which I gave the next day.:j: p,.oectof 

The pressure of time, and the novelty of the subject, pre- the secre- 
tary. 

* See page 115, ante. 

f General Armstrong, in a letter, submitted to the g-eneral court 
martial, by Major-general Lewis, says this letter had been snbmitted 
to the conjunct deliberation of the first clerk, Parker, and President 
Madison, after which, it was sealed and forwarded to Genpral Lewis. 

t See page 184, ante. 



344 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, vented that maturity of judgment, which more leisure and 
better information, would have enabled me to exercise j 
yet, 1 have never seen cause, to regret the opinion which 
I then gave; and if it had been adopted, Upper Canada 
would infallibly have fallen, and the expenditure of blood 
and treasure, which has ensued, w^ould liave been saved. 
Secretary The secretary answered me, on the Sth, and 9th j ad- 
his pro- bered to his project, and overruled my opinions, by 
jeci. making the capture of Kingston, the main object of the 

campaign. He opposes my plan for cutting up the divi- 
sion of the enemy, near Fort George, and reducing the 
garrison of Maiden, as a in'ciiminary to the attack of 
Kingston, and sustains his objection, on the foUowing 
grounds : *♦ In the event of the success of such a plant it 
leaves the strength of the enemy unbroken; it but tvounds 
ihe tail of the lion, and of course^ is not calculated, to hasten 
the termination of the war, either by increasing our own 
vigour, or diminishing that of the enemy.*'* But for the 
palpable conviction of the senses, no person acquainted 
with General Armstrong's intellectual force, would have 
believed him capable, of such flimsy fallacies ; yet, when 
a minister reasons, the soldier must be dumb, and there- 
fore, I did not reply, however conclusive the argument, 
that, by " breaking down the enemy's battalions, in the pe- 
ninsula," we should destroy his chief force, in Upper Cana- 
da, bruise the head, and draw the teeth of the lion ; that the 
capture or destruction of 2,500 of his best troops, would im- 
pair his energies, increase ouv vigour, and leave Kingston, 
an easy conquest. My plan being rejected, the secretary 
proceeds, in his letter of the Sth of August, to enquire 
into the preferable mode of attack against Kingston, and 
after weighing and balancing, advantages and disadvan- 
tages, between the direct and indirect attack, after ac- 
knowledging, that the direct attack, would be the short- 
est and better way, ** provided our combined land and 
naval forces, were competent to the object^' he concludes* 
that, (*ifoiir strength be inferior, or hardly equal) to thai 

* See page 187, ante. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 315 

of the enemy f then the indirect attack must he preferred." — chap. 
And thus, at the seat of government, he settles the princi- ^' 
pie of action, decides in favour of the «< march upon Mon- ^ |^g secre- 
treal" and strent^thens his arguments, by explicit assu- tary will 
ranceSf and specific stipulations. In support of this plan Montreal. 
of attack, says the secretary, *« the navy ivould perform 
its part, by preventing a pwsuit by water, by clearing the 
river of the armed boats of the enemy, by holding the pas- Promises 
sage at Hamilton, and by giving support to the position, operation. 
which he proposes to be established there;"* and, in the 
same letter he assures me, that if « the enemy pursue, it 
must be by land, without subsistence, (eopcept what he carries 
on his back^ and without artillery," leading me to believe, 
that the country was destitute, nut only of land transport, 
but of draft cattle; and after this « exposition," of a subject, 
which he appeared perfectly to understand, and of which 
I had no knowledge, he tells me Kingston is the primary 
object of the campaign, and tliat I am to " choose between 
^ the direct and indirect attack." Under these circumstances, Reflec- 
I did not the minister make himself responsible, for tlie ti,^ decep- 
truth of his information, and the performance of his en- ^'°" of Se- 
gagements? and in case of failure in either, let me ask. Arm- 
to whom should the consequent misfortunes be ascribed ? suong. 

— HE WHO DECEIVED, OR HE WHO WAS CHEATED ? Can St. 

military officer, entering upon a theatre of war, to which 
he is a perfect stranger, take a safer direction, for his go- 
Vi-rnment, than that of a minister, whose plans he has 
been called to execute ; — plans, founded on infoi'mation, 
deriv<'d from sources of intelligence, accessible to a mi- 
- nister nnly ? — And shall a secretary of war, after the offi,- 
; ' dal impasiiion of arguments and opinions, to convince the 
' understanding of his subordinate, screen himself from res- 
ponsibility for disasters, which his own advice may have 
produced ; by a Jesuitical reference, to the discretion of the 
officer, whose judgment he had fettered by his previous 
counsels-? Driven, then, as I had been, from my own pro- 
jet t, shall I be condemned, for yielding to that of my su- 
perior, on a point, where he posstssea all the information^ 

VOL. lU. X X 



346 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, and I none? Let candour, and truth, and justice, decide 
between us ; I shall be content with the award. 
Secretary Sundry documents were attached to the project, of the 
of war's 23d of July, and among them, the secretary's note of the 
Feb.^sa'i'^ 8tli of February, submitted to the cabinet; which exhi- 
1813. bited an estimate, of the force of tlie enemy, in the Ca- 
nadas, and exclusive of the garrison of Maiden, and the 
marine on Lake Erie, gave to the upper province, two 
thousand one hundred regular troops, scattered from 
Prescott to Fort Erie. These papers are worthy of re- 
cord; they may be adverted to hereafter, and therefore 
are attached to this defence.* It will be observed, that 
certain stipulations were entered into, by the secretary 
of war and myself, in our correspondence of the 6th, 8th, 
and 9th, of August, which, being indispensable, to the 
• efficient achninistration of the command, intrusted to mc, 

I relied implicitly, as well, on his good sense, as his good 
faith, for their strict observance. How far my expecta- 
tions were fulfilled, or the secretary's official engage 
nients observed, will be shewn in the sequel. 
jb'oice as- To my application for a report, of our forces on the 
General'^ northern frontier, a return was furnished me, by order 
Wilkin- of the secretary of war,f which exhibits, in the three di^ 
ivanc], visions, of Burlington, Sackett's Harbour, and Fort 
12,383 George, 12,383 combatants; of all ranks, present and 
tants. ' absent, 1 i,832 ; and to this force, the secretary promised 
me, he should add considerable reinforcements, from the 
Transport southern and middle states. To my enquiry for trans- 
men. ' P*^"^^' ^^ assured me, boats 7vere ready at the lake, for 
10,000 men. When 1 spoke of camp equipage, tools, tents, 
implements, and the munitions of war, generally, I was 
led to understand, they would be found in abundance, at 
Sackett^s Harbour and Fort George. 

Being informed by the secretary himself, that he in- 
tended to leave the seat of government, on a visit to the 
north, and believing that his bureau, was his proper sta- 

* See Appendix, No. XXVI. f See Appendix, No. XXVir. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 347 

tion, I asked him, wliat were his objects, and he answer- chap. 
cd, that he intended to take a station, at Albany, Utica, ^ 
or some place, near enough to the army, to enable him profgcsed 
to furnish, with the utmost promptitude, whatever might objects 
become necessary, to favour the operations of the cam- secreUry, 
paign. I barely observed, that the impending opera- "i movlnj^ 
tions, under General Harrison, the menacing aspect of""*^ ' 
the Creek Indians, and other causes, might produce exi- 
gencies, to require as much of his attention, to the south ' 
and west, as to the north; but I found his mind made up, 
and as I had myself, no object in view*, but the promotion 
of the public service, I could place no other interpreta- 
tion, on Ms motives, or actions. 

Believing implicitly, in Genei^l Armstrong's personal f^eneral 
friendship, not doubting his disinterested patriotism, and son's con- 
confiding in his knowledge of service, for every support fi^^ence in 
necessary to the establishment, and maintenance, of a of war. 
sound system, of subordination and discipline; I left 
Washington, on the lltli August, and by travelling night 
and day, without one moment's unncctssary halt, I 
reached Sackett's Harbour, the 20th, and as my duty 
prescribed, I submitted to the general officers there, 
and Commodore Chauncey, in a council of war, the 
views of the government, respecting the employment of 
the troops, which eventuated in their unanimous deter- 
mination, in favour of a direct attack upon Montreal. 

On my arrival at this post, I called for returns of men ^}^^^ "' 
. ... the ser- 

and means, to ascertain the state of the division and its vice. 

magazines; and to my surprise, I discovered, that the 
prej)arations and arrangements, necessary to the pro- 
posed expedition, were to be commenced; the troops 
were sickly, and of 2829 privates, on the ground, 1981, 
only, were reported fit for duty.* The dragoons were 
to be mounted, not a single spare arm in store, men and 
officers, in general, raw and ignorant, the corps disorga- 
nized and distracted, an almost total deficiency of water Deficiency 
transport, and every department, except that of the hos- port. 

• See Appendix, No. XXVIII. 



S18 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, pital, deficient in the requisite quantity, of stores, tools, 
^" and implements. My letters to the secretary of war, of 
the 24th, 26th, and 30th of August, (which he has either 
omitted, or shamefully garbled^ in his report to Congress, 
of January, 1814,) touch on these points, and therefore I 
will refer to them, in the appendix.* 

Having issued orders, for regulating the police and 
discipline of the troops, and the formation, of the men 
and officers for action, and given the necessary direc- 
tions, to the Quarter-master general, for the supply of 
transport, and the camp equipage, tools, stores, and im- 
plements, essential to the expedition; (Major-general 
Lewis being absent, on account of his health,) I assigned 
the command, of Sackett's Harbour, to Brigadier-gene- 
Departs val Brown, under particular instructions:! and on the 
for Fort evening, of the 30th of August, in high health, embark- 
30th Aog. ed, in a six-oared gig, for Niagara. The night becom- 
ing boisterous, I was obliged to make the shore, three 
leagues west of Sackett's Harbour, from whence, I, the 
next morning, dropped the secretary of war a note, of 
which the following is a copy, and I record it in this 
place, to manifest the zeal and solicitude, with which I 
looked, in every direction, to the public service, and the 
interests of the campaign. 



« Shore of Ontario f 3 leagues W, Sackett's Harbour, 

olst August, 1813. 
« Sir, 

<« I got thus far last night, and was obliged to make 
harbour, with my little gig. The sun is rising, and I am 
jumping on boaid a shaUop, which I arrested "e/i pas- 
sant," and shall he at Osvvpgo to-night, to pursue my 
voyage, v\ ith a fresh crew. The wind is at N.W. by W. 
which will lay Chaunrey along side of Sir James, by 5 
o'clock, and then for it. Gods! what an eventful mo- 
ment for us all. But Chauncey will triumph, and if 1 

* See Appeudix, No. XXIX. j See Appendix, No. XXX. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 349 

am not opposed, by storms and tempests, the rest will fol- chap, 
low. Farewell, yours respectfully, ^* 

(Signed) « JAMES WILKINSON. '"^^''^^ 

« The hail. John Armstrong, 

Secretary of War," 

I left the sliallop, about sun-set, at Sandy Creek, and General 

, , „ . . . , , I I • ,1 Wilkinson 

reached Oswego, in my gig, at 1 o'clock m the morn- arrives a^ 
ing. The night was dark and cold, and I had suffered Pultney- 
from an ague, before I made the harbour. Having highfever, 
given the necessary directions, for the transport of pro- 
visions, from this depot to Sackett's Harbour, and order- 
ed the garrison of the place, to be held in readiness, for 
a movement, I proceeded early next morning, and reach- 
ed Pultneyville in the evening, under a high fever. The 
next morning, the wind was adverse, and it rained, but 
being pressed by a rendezvous, made with the Quarter- 
master general, for the mouth of Genesee river, I em- 
barked on board my gig, and reached that place, in the 
evening ; from whence, after conferring with him, I 
proceeded, alone, in a light wagon, for Niagara, where 
I arrived, the 4th of September, under a violent affection^^ 
of my head and stomach, with fever. 

Here, again, I met with disease, and diorganization com. 
among the troops, and, comparatively, no transport for phauncey 
their movement; Commodore Chauncey, wind bound, and Sir J, 
in port, and Sir James Yeo, vapourinsj before the bar- ^'^"' "^ 

11,/. ^he Har- 

bour; our squadron got out, on the 7th, and after mu( h hour. 

manoRuvring, and a running fight, the enemy got into 

Amheist Bay, near Kingston ; and I did not hear from 

our Commodore, until the 18th, at which time, he lay off 

the Ducks, near tl»e foot of the lake, nor did I see him, 

until the 2*th or 25th of the month; he then presented Com. 

himself, to cover my movement down the lake, but was faifsTn^'^* 

diverted from this purpose, by the appearance of Sir with, 

James Yeo, whom he sought on the 27th, and engaged off beats si" 

York, the next day, and having driven his antagonist, to J»s- Yeo, 

the head of the lake, under circumstances of weather, 

wliich forbade his following him, the Commodore return- 



350 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, ed to the neiglibouvhood of Niagara, on the SOth of Sep- 
^ temb'T, and on the morning of the 1st of October, lie call- 
ed on, and informed me, he was then ready, to convoy 
me down the lake. It occurred to me, tliat a more pro- 
fitable course might be adopted, and I offered tlie sugges- 
tion to the Commodore, which I immediately put to 
Flotilla paper, and submitted for his consideration, which he ap- 
procceds proved.* I had despatrlied a part of the troops, for 
ett's Har- Henderson's Bay, the day before, and followed with the 
bour. rear, the 2d of October. The Commodore sailed the 
same day, in quest of the enemy, who again escaped 
him, but he fell in with, and captured five of Ids trans- 
ports, with the flank companies, of De Watteville's re- 
giment, two liMndred strong. 
Causes of ]Vo further evidence would be necpssary, to explain the 
Tort^ ^ causes of my delay, at Fort George, than my correspon- 
George, dencc with my accuser, himself, the then secretary of 
secretary '^^i'* John Armstrong esq., for, independent of the sick- 
of war. ness of the troops, and the almost total want of trans- 
port, to receive the^, the equivocal relation of the ad- 
verse squadrons, and their unsettled superiority, until 
the 28th September, combined with the weather, (cir- 
cumstances well understood by the secretary) either pre- 
vented, or forbade my moving, until the hour at which 
the troops got under way. It will not escape the atten- 
tion, of the court, that, in my correspondence, with Gene- 
ral Armstrong, from Fort George, I indicated strong in- 
clinations, to carry into elTert, my original plan, of the 
6th of July, against the corps of the enemy in my vicini- 
ty, particularly, in my letter of the 18th of September, on 
•which, the secretary in his letter, of the 22d, of the same 
month,* puts a peremptory veto, by telling me *< the 
main object must he prosecnted." This was a sad delu- 
sion, as respi'Cted the public service, and in regard to 
myself, of destructive consequences. 

I !iad become convalescent, before I left Fort George, 
but my exposure to a hot sun, in my gig, for several 

* See Appendix, No. XXXI. f See Appendix, No. XXXI-P 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 



B5i 



hours, the day I sailed, caused a relapse, and I reached, chap. 
Sackett's Harbour, much indisposed, on the 4th of Octo- ■'^• 
ber, in the evening. I was most kindly received by my C:;eneiai 
friend, the secretary of war, near the water, and conduct- Wilkinson 
ed by himself, and some other person, to General Lewis's Sackett'^s^ 
quarters, with whom the secretary was an inmate, for he Harbour, 
had neither quarters, nor, even, a separate apartment to disposed 
himself. 

As this interview, is particularly noted, in the secre- 
tary's report to Congress, of January, 1814, by a pre- 
tended reference to his journal, I beg leave to, contrast 
it, with the facts, as they truly occurred. 



General Armstrong tells the 
Congress, 

ist. That General Wil- 
kinson arrived at Sackett's 
Harbour, on the 4th of Oc- 
tober, 1813, and immediate- 
ly visited, the secretary of 
war, in company with Ge- 
nerals Lewis and Brown, 
and in presence of these of- 
iicers, remonstrated freely, 
and warmly, against making 
an attack on Kingston, — 
urging the propriety, of 
passing that post, and of 
going directly to Montreal. 



Facts. 



1st. Gen. Lewis and Doc- Secretary 
tor Bull, liave both proved, fj,™'g»s 
to the court, that tlie secre- report to 
tary of war, met General coSted 
Wilkinson, near the water, with facts, 
and conducted him to the 
quarters he occupied ; — of 
course, General Wilkinson 
did not visit the secretary 
of war. General Lewis, on 
his oath, says, he does not 
remember the remonstrance 
imputed to General Wilkin- 
son, by the secretary of war, 
nor will any person believe, 
such remonstrance ever took 
place, who will be at the 
pains of examining Gene- 
ral Wilkinson's statement, 
to the council of war at Fort 
George, Sept. 26th, 1813, 
or his note, to Commodore 
Chauncey, of the 1st Oc- 



35^ 



MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP. 
X. 



2d, The secretary of war 
differed from General Wil- 
kinson, in opinion, but 
thought his objections wor- 
thy of consideration, and 
proposed meeting, on the 
day following, for that pur- 
pose. 

Sd. The meeting took 
place accordingly, when 
General "Wilkinson pre- 
sented the paper, marked 
No. 1 ; that marked No. 2, 
was by tlie secretary, and 
the opinion with which it 
closes, was adopted as that, 
which should regulate the 
movements of the army. 



tober, in both of wliich 
his determination to attack 
Kingston, is manifest.* 

2d. General Lewis de- 
clares, on oath, nothing of 
this kind happened, to his 
knowledge ; and of course, 
it did not happen, as the 
secretary declares General 
Lewis was present. 



3d. General Lewis de- 
clares, on oath, no such 
meeting took place, to his 
knovvlcjdge; nor did any 
such meeting take place. 
The paper. No. 1, is au- 
thentic; General Wilkin- 
son gave it to the secretary 
of war, and he retained it. 
The secretary read his own 
proposition, which he calls 
No. 2, and put the paper in 
his pocket. General Wil- 
kinson did not examine it, 
nor did General Lewis ; 
General Brown was not 
present ; but General Wil- 
kinson proposed, the attack 
on Kingston, and the secre- 
tary of war acquiesced. 



Whoever is well acquainted with General Armstrong's 
mental organization, will scarcely believe, that he ever 
descended to keep, a diary of diminutive incidents j yet. 



See Appendix, No. XXXOI. 



p 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 353 

ao one can doubt his capacity^ to form a jMrncd to meet chap. 
any occasion. 

Before I left Fort George, the lapse of the season, the j^^ag^nj 
inclemency of the weather, the quajitity and quality of to favour 
our boats, and the health of the troops, many of ^^ hom ^j- l^'-„j, 
were convalescents, liad inclined me to favour, the direct ton. 
attack on Kingston ; but I rea( bed Sackett's Harbour, 
with a mind, unfettered and open to conviction. I did be- 
lie\ e, the capture of Kingston would conquer the upper 
province, and that this would satisfy tlie public mind ; 
but 1 was ready to do, whatever my superior miglit re- 
commend, and my general officers approve. In this state 
of mind, I offered ng specific opinion, to the secretary of 
war, at meeting him on the 4th ; but I spoke of the course 
to be adopted, as a matter which required conjunct deli- 
beration ; and although I did not minute down what past, 
I well recollect proposing, " that we should retire to our 
quarters^ think on the point to he attacked, meet the next 
morning, compare opinions and come to a conclusion." I 
was therefore rejoiced, to find the secretary of war, fa- 
Toured the direct attack, although under certain qualifi- 
cations, as to the weather, and the enemy^s force. 

All my measures and arrangements, were, of course, 
pointed to that object; but on tlie evening of the 5th of 
October, I was assailed by a violent ague, followed by a 
fever, wiiich debilitated me extremely, and confined me 
to my bed : my disease was unrelenting, and after two op 
three paroxysms, I found myself so much weakened, that 
I was desirous to retire from the command, and mention- 
ed it to my surgeon, Doctor Bull, who, on his oath, has 
assured this court, that he opposed my wishes, and en- 
couraged me, to expect a speedy recovery. In my de- 
plorable situation, I was visited almost daily, by tlie se- 
cretary of war, which gave me an opportunity, to men- 
tion to him, my incapacity to command the army, and to 
propose that I should retire from it; he replied, that there 
was no person to take my place, that I could not be spared, 
that I must accompany the expedition, and flattered me, 
VOL. III. y y 



354 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, with assuraiftes of a speedy restoration to strength, as 
^* my surgeon had done before.* 

A constitution, whicli, till then, had withstood every 
clime, the current of my animal sjjirits, the unimpaired 
force of my mind, and my desire to render service to my 
country, all conspired to favour the opinistns of my phy- 
sician, and the secretary of war ; and thus was I urged 
on, in my enfeebled condition, to attempt the discharge 
of functions, which required liealth, activity, and hardi- 
hood. 

Corres- ]yjy correspondence with Commodore Chauncey, on 

pondence ^ i ^ 

with Com. the 9th of October, will evince, that Kingston was my 
Chauncey, favourite point of attack, at that time; but it may be pro- 
per to remark, that the second letter was written, in con- 
sequence of some conversation, with the Commodore, aft»!r 
lie had received the first, respecting the difficulty of pas- 
sing the harbour of Kingston, to cover a landing below; 
and also, should the weather prevent the traverse of the 
lake, with a view to ascertain, the practicability, of a 
safe passage down the St. Lawrence, as an alternative. 

Having heard, that tlie idea of carrying an attack 
against Kingston, had become a subject of ridicule, at the 
secretary's quarters, and fearing the effect on the minds 
of the tr««>ps, I determined to check such conversation, 
and, therefore, sent Major Lee to him, on the 11th, with 
the message he has exhibited to the court, and my cor- 
respondence with Commodore Chauncey, of tlie 9th, for 
Secretary the secretary's perusal. It has been seen by the court, 
opisikm '" f''^"' *''® testimony of Major Lee, that on his presenta- 
vith Ge- tion of my message, the secretary concurred with me in 
ktnson as opinion, respecting the attack of Kingston, and, there- 
to King- fore, the opposition which he made to that measure, eight 
days aftei'wards, was the more unexpected, and surpris- 



• A gentleman of General Armstrong's family, Mr. S -, who had 

observed my extreme dt-bility, remarked to him, thai I was not able 
to accompany the expedition; to whicti the secretary replied, "Oil, 
yes ! he must ; I would feed the old man with pup, sooner than leave 
him behind." 



GENERAL WJLKINSON. 355 

ing to raej but when my superior, on the spot, condemn- chap. 
ed my purpose, and proposed a ditferent object, as the ^ 
resulr of his own jiidj^ment, and inforniiation ; vviun he 
opposed my plan, by insuperable difficulties, arising out 
of the destitution of forage, which I first learned from 
himself; when he recommended the attai k of Montreal, Secretary 
as the more expedient, and safe project; and tells me that, ^^j;^'^ ^'_ 
*< the plan already indicated, besides the approbation of the ladcng' 
President^ has i-eceived the sanction of a council ofrvar,^'* 
does he not silence my discretion, fetter my judgment, 
bind me down to the course to be pursued, and make 
himself responsible, for the consequences? Such was my 
impression at tlie time, and if I erred in judgment, when 
almost too feeble to stand alone, it was a personal misfor- 
tune, and a public calamity, for which, I trust, no crime 
will be attached to me. It was in this state of mind, that 
I frequently de<lared, at Grenadier Island, and other 
places, that I would give ray right arm, could 1 feel my- 
self at liberty, to attack Kingston; not that my orders 
were positive to attack Montreal, altJKnigh I felt myself 
bound by the arguments, the information, and advice of 
the secretary to do so. 

There is no sounder axiom in military affairs, than Military 
that power, and responsibility, are coeval and co-exten~ ^^'°™' 
give, impair the first, and you diminish the last, take 
away the one, and you destroy the other. I was sent 
iiito military district No. 9., for the accomplishment of a 
specific object, with authority, to command the whole of 
the forces therein, and under a limited discretion, to ex» 
ercise my judgment, in the execution of the trust confid- 
ed to me; so long as this power was inviolate, I stood re- 
sponsible to the government, for every consequence; but 
the moment this power was entrenched on, or any part of 
the forces assigned to my command, were taken away, my 
discretion ceased, and my responsibility was destroyed. 
For illustration — my judgment inclines me to attack A case Id 
Kingston, directly; and to place the attempt, beyond the P®'"'" 

» See Appendix, No. XXXIV. 



356 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, reach of misfortune, 1 propose, to concentrate my whole 
"^' force ; but a minister, my superior, interposes, his autho- 
rity, and deprives me, of more than one-third of my ar- 
my, giving to it a different destination ; in this case, can 
I be held responsible, for the consequences ? certainly 
not, — my discretion is annidled, and my responsibility 
transferred to my superior; nor can any Jesuitical salvo, 
founded on a mere nominal discretion, to be conferred, 
or revoked at pleasure, absolve him. 
Secreta- But General Armstrong, had degraded my autliority, 
triffue* in an hundred instances; and at the very moment, he led 

with Ge- ijjg tQ expect the zealous co-operation of General Flamp- 

ncra^ls 

Hampton, ton, and was pressing me to tlie blindfold attack of Mon- 

and Swart- ^,,gj^j^ he was intriguing with my subordinates,* and 
giving secret instructions to General Hampton, for tiie 
erection of huts, for 10,000 men, within the limits of 
Lower Canada. 

This arrangement was concealed from me, until drawn 
from the Quarter-master general, on his cross-examina- 
tion, before tliis court; and 1 am at a loss, how to inter- 
pret it, for on every principle of military service, and on 
the broad grounds of justice, of policy, of official respect, 
and the public good ; no measure, worthy communic ation 
to the subordinate, immediately under his eye, sliould bo 
concealed from the commander in chief, (real or nomi- 
nal) and, more especially, an order which so deeply in- 
volved, the best interests of the army, and the country; 
Secretary yet in spite of the solemn stipulation, entered into ante- 
his parti rior to my taking the command, of the northern army; 
cuiursti. i^ wiiich, the secretary of war, covenants, that '« all 
^th Gene- Orders to subordinate officers, should pass from the war de- 
ral Wii- partmeutf to the adjutant-general, to be communicated to the 
General commanding the district, in which such subordi 
nate officer, may serve ;*^ in spite of my earnest appeal 
to him, on the 24th August, immediately on my arrival 
at Sackett's Harbour, conceived in the following empha- 
tic terms, « I trust you will not interfere with arrange- 

* See letter to Brigadier-general Swartwovit, page 70, ante 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 357 

mentSf or give orders, within the district of my command, chap. 
but to myself; because it would impair my authority, 
and distract the public service. Two heads, on the same General 
shoulders, make a monster!" But, so impatient was the se- Wilkin- 

soil s let* 

cretary, to mingle his authority with the operations of ter,of24ih 
the expedition, so anxious to forestal public opinion, and August, 
secure to himself, the expected fruits of the campaign; 
that, in violation of his own engagements, and of my 
rights, as a commander, he usurped the command, the 
moment he entered the district; broke down my autho- 
rity, intrigued with my subordinates, embarrassed my 
arrangements, distracted the service, discharged me from 
responsibility, and eventually produced the failure of the 
campaign. 

Aware of the ill consequences, of his presence with the He in- 
troops, and recollectittg his professions at Washington, ggc^etan^ 
of an intention, to keep at a distance from the army ; I to an in- 
invited an interview with him at Niagara, on the grounds ^iai^ara.* 
set forth in my letter of the 'ilst August, in the printed 
report presented to Congress, and to enforce my request, 
and keep him from Sackett's Harbour, I express myself 
to him on the 2ith August, in the following* manner, 
*« As [ shall have no chance of seeing you here, I hope 
you may indulge me, with that pleasure at Niagara, for 
which end, it is necessary you should be there, by the 
12th proximo; here there is no occasion for you, except 
it be to get into a conflict, with the civil authority ;" but 
my admonition was as void of effect, as the promises of 
the secretary were of good faith ; he had taken his part. Secretary 
and treading on my heals, reached Sackett's Harboui*, reaches 

r. r 1 1 1 .. . Sackett's 

five days alter I had left it. Harbour. 

It is in proof, before the court, that Major-general 
Hampton, had been placed under my orders, by the se- 
cretary of war, befoi-e I left the seat of government, in 
'"onsequence of which, I addressed him two letters from 



See Appendix, No. XXIX 



358 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. Albany,* but instead of respecting, he spurned the autho- 
^ rity of his superior officer, and, it now appears, from his 
j^^. , letterf of the 23d of August, to the secretary, offered his 
general resignation, as the alternative he prefei-red, to obedience 
ton^I'con- ^^ '^'y commands. This contumelious conduct of Gene- 
tempi of ral Hampton, reduced me to the necessity of arresting, 
Wilkin- ^^^^ bringing him before a military tribunal, or of seek- 
son's uu- ing redress, for the outrage he had committed, on the 
pi'inciples of subordination and discipline, by a direct 
appeal to the secretary of war. For the sake of harmo- 
ny, I preferred the latter course; and I, therefore, wrote 
the secretary from Sackett's Harbour, on the evening of 
the 30th of August: <♦ Von have copies of my letters to Major- 
general Hampton^ which I know he has received; yet I have, 
no answer. The reflection which naturally occurs^ is, thai 
if I am authorised to command^ he is bound to obey; and ij 
he will not respect the obligation, he should be turned out o^ 
the service; because example is contagiouSf and sedition dcr^ 
structive, when sanctioned by oncers of rank.^' 
Thesecie- It will be observed, that tlje secretary of war, in his 
tary in his |.gpo,.t ^q Qongress, found it convenient, as in many other 
Congress, instances, to garble the letter, from which this paragraph 
Genera ^^ taken; and thus, by the malicious suppression of a 
Wilkin- fact, to screen himself from blame, and wrong the man, 
son s let- ^.}j^,^ l^g ^j^g hound to protect. But what was the effect 
of this appeal ? The secretary of war, after the receipt 
of General Hampton's mutinous letter, of tlie 23d of Au- 
gust, enters into a correspondence with that officer; takes 
him under his own autliority ; breaks his own engage- 
ments to me; gives a mortal stab to military subordina- 
tion, and then, with the seditious letter in his pocket, 
writes me on the 6th September, « General Hamptou will 
go through the campaign, cordially and vigorously, and will 
resign at the end of it.''^ 

A ready solution of the motives of tlie secretary, may 
be found in this letter of General Hampton; — lie had 

* See Appendix, No. XXXV. f See Appendix, No, XXXVI. 
i See Appendix, No. XXVII. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 359 

broken faith with that officer, and to prevent the exposi- chap. 
tion of his treachery, he violates a solemn official engage- ^• 
ment to me, without respect to my feelings, or the public 
service ; for to prove that he was void of sympathy, and 
justice, and regardless of individual sensibilities, when 
opposed to his own lusts of power, it is barely necessary 
to say, he had borrowed from the despotism of Bona- 
parte, and introduced into our service, in the face of a 
saci-ed principle of the constitution, a system of secret 
information, and espionage, calculated to break down 
honour, and banish patriotism from our ranks.* 

And yet, apprised as the secretary of war was, of Ge- 
neral Hampton's hostility to me, and of his resolution 
not to obey my commands, he shortly after his secret or- 
der of the 16th of October, to that officer, orders me to 
« give Hampto7if timely notice of my approach, and of the 
place, and hour of junction." Painful as this injunction 
was, I felt niyself bound to respect it j but in my answerf General 
of the 3d of November, which the secretary has, also, Wtlkm- 

son s an- 

garbled in his report to Congress, I observe: <♦ Fou de- swer to 
sire me to notify Hampton, of the time and place of June- * he secre- 
tion,* hut, as he has treated my authority with contempt, and war, of 
has acted EXCLUSIVELY, under your orders, I wish 3d Nov. 

•^ reflecting' 

this ivformation could go from you, that I miglit be saved, on Gene- 

the hazard of a second insult: for I need not say to you, "^ ^^^J^P" 

* •' ' Ion s nus- 

who have seen service, what an outrage it is, on the sen- conduct. 
isibilities of a soldier, and how radically destructive of 
military subordination, and the success of every military 
enterprise, for a subordinate to resist, or neglect, the or 
ders of a superior. You may, however, rest assured, that 
in tiiis case, my feelings shall be silenced, and that I will 
humiliate myself, to make tiie most of this pretender.^' — 
And yet this right honest secretary, the author of my 
embarrassments, and the cause of my misfortunes, was 
amongst the first, to censure me for not giving explicit 

* This duplicity to Hampton ; this outrage of the authority for- 
mally vested in me ; and this act of usurpation, all received the sanc- 
tion, of the meek and amiable republican, President Madison, 

\ See Appendix, No. XXXVIII. 



360 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, orders, to an officer, who he knew had disclaimed my au- 
^" thoiiti/f and whom he had taken under his own, exclusive, 
command.* Besides, I had not heard one word from Ge- 
neral Hampton, nor a syllable of him, after he left Lake 
Champlain, except in the single instance, of his letter to 
the secretary of war, after his first arrival at the Four 
Corners, which was read to me, when confined to my 
bed at Sackett's Harbour. 

I knew from the secretary of war, that he intended to 
order General Hampton, to march into Canada ; but to 
what point, or with what specific object, I knew not, until 
the report to Congress was published ; from which it ap- 
pears, that the secretary of war, « on the 16th October, 
had peremptorily ordered General Hampton, to penetrate 
Canada, and approach the mouth of Chateaugay, or other 
poiJit, tvklch shall better favour our junction, and hold the 
enemy in check;'** and in the same letter, he tells Hamp- 
ton, <* the dragoons will pass the St, Lawrence, near the 
Coteau de Lac," In this state of things, at a time, when 
I knew not, where to find General Hampton, and the se- 
cretary had just cause to believe, that the General must, 
in the executioji of his order, of the ±6th October, have 
marched directly towards Montreal ; and after he had ac- 
tually designated, to General Hampton, the point of junc- 
tion with the corps, then at Sackett*s Harbour, under my 
immediate command, which I did believe, 7vas destined to 
attack Kingston, it will be difficult to account, for the or- 
der he sent me, the 30th of October, to <* give General 
Hampton timely notice of my approach, and of the place, 
and hour of junction ;-*\ and still more inexplicable, will 
the conduct of this minister appear, when to these orders 
we connect the following extract from his letter to me, 
of the ist of November : ** Prevost will perhaps be found, 
between the Coteau de Lac, and Isle Perrot; if 7vise, he 
will attempt to fight you, before your junction with Hamp^ 
ton. AVOID THIS j — leave nothing to chance, that you 

• See Appendix, No. XXXIX, and p. 74—76, ante. 
f See Appendix, No. XL. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 361 

seltle on yonr 07vn terms; A JUNCTION WITH CHAP. 



liAiMl'TON, enables yori to give the law,'* 

Jf we lake into cousidei-ation, that these several or- 
tkrs, were given before the secretary was informed, of 
(renera! lliim])toii*s movement into Lower Canada, under 
his or<l< f of the i6(li October,* we sliall labour in vain, 
to penetrate liis motives. In that order to IJampton, not- 
withstanding //je secretary affected to be undetermined, rvhe- 

" Suckett's Harbour, October 16ih, 1813. 
" Dear General, 

" Your favour of the 12th ultimo, has been handed to me by Major 
Parker. The Niag'ara division has been slow in its movements : it 
has at Icnfjih reached Henderson's Harbour, and moves this day to 
Grenadier Island, whither the division here, is moving- also. From 
tills point (Grenadier Island,) we take our departure, either for 
ICingstoH, or for Montreal. The enemy broke up his positions, be- 
: jic Fort Geori^e, on the9lh; burnt his surplus stores, arms, &c. and 
moved rapidly for Burlington Bay, which he reached on the 11th in- 
stant. Advices from the Bay of Cante, state, that he is comings down 
to Kingston, and that iiis sick and convalescent, to the number of 
1200, had already arrived there. He will brmg with him about 1500 
efTectives, and thanks to the storm, and our snnil-Uke movements 
down the lake, they will be there before we can reach it. The ma- 
noeuvre intended, is lost, so far as regards Kmgston. What we now 
do against that place, must be done by hard blows, at some risk. 
The importance of the object may, however, justify the means. In 
the other case (an immediate descent of the St. Lawrence) the army 
■iviU make its way to the Isle Perrot, whence we shall immediately 
open a communication with you Under these circumstHnr es, you 
will approach the mouth of the Chateauguy, or other point, -which shall 
favour our junction, and hold the enemy in check. Your known vigilance 
and skill, make it unnecessary to sugs:est any measure of precaution, 
against the enterprizes of the enemy, while you remain within stroke 
of him. The dragoons will puss the St. Lawrence near the Coteau du 
Lac. 

*' Yours, &c. 

" JOHN ARMSTRONG, 
" Major-general Hampton" 

After perusing this letter, can any man hesitate to say, that Gene- 
ral Armstrong, the secretary of war, did not undertake to exercise 
the chief command, and to controul the mo%'ements of the troops, m 
district No. 9, on the northern frontier, in the autumn of 1813? 
VOL. III. Z 7, 



X. 



36S MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, ther the division at Sacketfs Harbour, should attack Kings- 
^^' ton, or descend the St, Lawrence; yet, he peremptorily or- 
ders tlie General f to hrave the enemy , and take post on the 
St. Lawrence, in the neighbourhood of Montreal; and tells 
liirn, « the cavalry will cross the St. Lawrence, near the 
CoTEAU Du Lac, where there is actually no pas- 
sage roR HORSES ! ! !* But, having sent General Hamp- 
ton beyond my reacli, he orders me, on the 30th of Oc- 
tohcr, " to give him (^Hampton) timely notice of the place, 
and hour of junction;" and two days after, informs me, I 
shall, perliaps, meet Sir George Prevost, « in the neigh- 
bourhood of the Coteau du Lac, where the dragoons were io 
cross;*' and at the same time, orders me, to <« avoid an. 
action with Sir George, before I have formed ajxinctionwith 
Military Hampton ;" when, agreeably to his own orders, he ought to 
ofthe se- ^^"^'^ known it was impossible, such aju ction could beform- 
cretary of ed, short of the bank of the St. Lawrence, opposite the Isle 
posed, Perrot ; a point which, according to his opinion, I could 
not reach, withoutfighting the British general. Combine this 
mass of inconsistencies and contradictions, with the order 
to General Hampton, « to build huts for 10,000 men, 
•within the limits of Canada,'* and the mind is bewildered, 
and utterly at a loss, how to interpret the views of the se- 
cretary,! on any fair grounds. 

I crave the pardon of the court, for this tedious recital 
of facts, and circumstances ; whicli, although not strictly 

* Here we have another proof of this ministerial commandant's blind 
ignorance of the theatre of operations; he says, " the cavalry iiill cross 
the St, Lavjrence, near the Coteau du Lac,^' when in fact, there is no 
crossing within twenty miles of that point, the coast on the east side 
being generally unsettled ; Lake St. Peter being above, and impass:. 
ble rapids exa^nding far below, that post. 

f To those acquainted with the secretary's character, it will not 
appear impoadble, that finding the season wasted and the enterprise 
I'endervid dcybtful, he abandoned that prospect of renown, which he 
had counted upon, from a successful issue of the operation, and being 
disappointed himself, he determined, that others should share his dis- 
appointment with him, and therefore took measures to produce the 
abortion, ^yhicli closed the campaign. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 363 

relevant, to the charges which brought me to their bar, CHAP, 
may serve to explain, some of the causes of my delays, 
embarrassments, and misfortunes. 

Leaving my departure from Sackett's Harbour, and Unfortu- 
the incidents of the voyage, to the volume of testimony "on^g^" 
before the court, I will ask leave to make a short halt at with Colo- 
Ogdensburgh, where my evil genius crossed my course, "^d its^' 
in the person of Colonel King, "who deceived* me, by conse- 
his assurances of General Hampton^s dispositions, and de- ^"^"^ 
stroyed a project in embryo, which might have resulted 
in the reduction of Kingston, and its dependencies, and 
saved the subsequent expenditure of blood and treasure., 

The unexpected pressure of the enemy, on mij rear, the 
8th of JVovember, so contrary, to the assurances of the secre- 
tary of war, in his letter of the 8th of Jiugust, and to my 
reliance, on the capacity of our squadron, to prevent the pur- 
suit, made a material change, in my situation; and but for 
my engagement, to meet General Hampton, at St. Regis, I 
should have changed the plan of the expedition. I, however, 
determined to take the sense of my general officers, and it 
was for this reason, the council of war was called, on the 
8th Oct. at the narrows of the St. Lawrence. From this 
place, to the French Mills, the sufferings of my mind, 
and body, were extreme; without an hour's interval of 
ease from pain, chained to my pallet, and unable to mi 
gle in scenes, which exalt the soul ; where pride, glory, 
honour, and duty, called me; my agonies were such, as 
surely ought to have saved me, from the humiliation of 
this day, yet, it is in proof, before this honourable court, 
by Colonel Pinkney and Doctor Bull, that I did not in 
any extremity, lose my vigour of mind. Most anxious- 
ly, indeed, did I wish, to transfer the command to other 
hands, but Major-general Lewis was ill, and fi'om causes 
unknown to me, I discovered in the army, an insuper- 

* Whether purposely or not, can never be determined positively, 
though the suspicion is warranted by his posterior conduct, and it 
appears, in his hypocritical profusions to General S. Smith, which he 
iPr.iid on his oath, that he felt some compunctions of conscience. 



^64 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, able repugnance,* to the command of Brigadier-genera! j 



i^^ B'oti. 



Wlioever reads t!ie letters of the secretary of war, 
might be led to believe, tliat the descent of the St. Law- 
jpence, was to be a party of pk'asurej that the inhabitant;^ 
(if the country, were disaffected to the royal cause, and 
that the army would meet with no embarrassment, in 
front or rear, until it approached Montreal. I refer to 
his letter, of the 8th of August, in the printed repoit to 
Congress, and his letter to me of the '2Tth of October, 
from which I will quote the following paragraph: f* I re- 
ceived your letter by Mr. Lush, the alarm of the enemy, is 
general, along the whole line, at every point of which he is 
weak. Three days ago, he called out a regiment of militia, 
which produced but 15 men, li or whom deseiited 
THE FIRST NIGHT, of tlicir servjcc. One of these men 
is now here."! The testimony before this court, will 
furnish an ample comment on this infoi-mation, and will 
expose its deception. 

* Brigadier-general Brown, after the arrival of the army at French 
Mills, swore to me, that sooner th.»n serve under General Boyci, l)- 
would resign. 

f See Appendix, No. XLI. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 363 



CFIAP. 
XI. 



CHAPTER XL 

la consequence of indisposition f General Wilkinson resolves 
to resign the command to General Hampton, on his arri- 
val at St. Regis. — General JVilkinson applies to the Se- 
■ velar If oj War, for leave to remove his quarters, but 
receives no answer. — Beflections on the conduct of the 
Secretarij of War. — His interference -with the contractor. 
— ^nthorises inferior officers, to appoint courts martial, 
within the limits of General Wilkinson^s command. — • 
Sanctions illegal proceedings. — His mal-arrangement of 
the medical staff in contradiction to his own regulations. 
— General Wilkinson begins to gain health, and contem- 
plates offensive operations. — Projected attack on Prescott, 
— Marred by the Secretary's order, of January 20th. — 
Injustice, and indelicacy of Secretary Armstrong's treat- 
ment of General Wilkinson.— h suspected of not wishing 
to bring General Wilkinson to trial. — System of' milita7'y 
espionage, illustrated by Inspector BelVs report, and the 
secretary's letter of 25d May. — Reflections on this system, 
and its bad teiulency. — Remarks on the general staff. — 
The secretary threatens those inspectors, who shall fail ^: 
make conjidential reports. — The prosecution of Gencro' 
Wilkinson, attributed to the personal agency of Secretar 
Jlrmstrong. — The cond^ict of Secretary .Armstrong, en 
plained by his letters and conversations. — The Secretarv 
<:ondemns General Wilkinson's conduct, and approve- 
that of General Hampton. — T/ie Secretary resumes th-- 
guise of friendship. — His misrepresentation of the force ^ 
under General JFilkinson's command. — His letter of the 
\ 5th' J^ov ember, contrasted with his declaration to Major 
Lee. — Mysterious orders of Secretary .Armstrong to Gene- 
ral Hampton. — Inconsistent with those given to General 
fyHkinson. — The failure of Secretary Armstrong's plam 



^66 MEMOIRS BY 

traced to bad calculations f and his personal interference,—* 
Letter of the ±Bth September, demonstrating the instabili' ^ 
ty of his plans* — His intentional misinterpretation of 
General Wilkinson^s letter, — The reports of Doctor Ross, 
chief surgeon of the expedition, referred to, 

CHAP jjf fyji confidence, after my interview with Colonei 

^^r's^ King, that I should find General Hampton, at St. Regis, I 
was encouraged to perservere in the meditated attack on 
Montreal; hut had become so much enfeebled, by the unre- 
lenting disease, which continued to torment me, with in 
creased violence; that my determination was made, to re- 
sign the command to him, as soon as we met, and for this 
fact, I refer to the declaration of Major Lee.* Having 
languished, several days, at the French Mills, without a 
prospect of recovery, with the advice of my surgeon, I 
was carried in a litter to Malone ; where my disease con- 
tinued obstinate and acute, for several weeks ; fi'om this 
place, when reduced almost to a skeleton, and when hope 
had nearly abandoned my physician, I asked respite, 
from the duties which oppressed me, with leave to change 
^f"j^r^^ my position, to save my life; of this application, the hu- 
applies for mane secretary, deigned not to take the least notice,f al- 
leave to ^jjoQe-h Colonel King tells the court, he had long before 

remove o -^ ^ u 

his quar- condemned me, for the failure of the campaign. 
ters, but -^^^ although my body was weak, my mind continued 
ho an- active, and by the vigilance of my oihcers, by stationary 
guards and heavy escorts, by ostensible preparations for 
offence, by deceiving the spies of the enemy, and by send- 
ing double spies to give him false intelligence, I kept him 
in constant apprehension ; and by putting him on the de- 
fensive, protected an exposed flank, of sixty-four miles, 
from Plattsburgh to the French Mills, against insult. 
That portion of my correspondence with the secretary of 
war, from November, 1813, until February, 1814-, which 
is attached to this defence, witiiout special reference, will 
help to explain, how far 1 discharged my duty, and how 

• See AppeTidix, N«. XLU. t See Appendix, No. XLU?! 



'Swer. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 367 

far he trusted me, in the conduct of the most difficult, im- chap. 
portant, and critical command, within the national limits; 
at the very moment he sought my disgrace, by the par- Rgflgc. 
tial, prejudiced, and garbled report* made to Congress; tions on 
by bartering offioiAl patronage,! for secret informations ; duct^of' 
by encouraging! the calumnies of bis pimps, and pan- the secrc 
ders; by whispering to members of the national legisla- ^av.*^ 
ture, that if « the reports of several officers ofranki* could 
he credited, more than one general (officer, on the northern 
frontier^ had given himself ^ip to intoxication^ and thus, im- 
puting to me, a vulgar brutal habit, which, above all 
others, disqualifies an officer, for military trust; a 
habit, which it is in proof before this court, by men of 
rank and honour, who have served with me, many years, 
I have ever reprobated, discountenanced, and discourag- 
ed; and for which, it might be added, I have driven more 
than twenty officers, from the service. This correspon- 
dence will shew, what was my sense of the principles of 
subordination, and disciidine, what ray anxiety for the 
public interests, and comfort of the troops; how I strug- 
gled to maintain the first, and promote the last; and how 
the despotic secretary ^^^ prostrated all my exertions, as his 
caprice, his malicef or impatience of command, inclined 

* The secretary promoted the call for the report, by informing my 
personal friends, that it would be favourable to me, and would expose 
General Hampton. Mr. Bradley, an independent, honourable man, 
who called for the report, was so doubtful of the effect, that he con- 
sulted a private .gentleman of my acquaintance, as to the bearing, it 
would have on my interests. Should General Armstrong, deny the 
facts, I will quote my authority. 

f The secretary promoted Colonels Scott, King, and Hamilton, over 
the heads of their superiors, after he had determined on my ruin ; 
these officers were known to General Armstrong, to be my avowed 
enemies, the two first, were i?iformers. King acknowledged his turpi- 
tude, before the court. Scott had offered the secret stab, but <f«renot 
meet the invet:tigation.—See my appeal to the court, page 32, and 
Scott's letter to the jadge advocate, page 41, of this volume. 

t When a minisier listens to secret informers, he encourages, in- 
subordinittion and perfidy. 

§ Supported by the blind acquiescence, of the wise and virtuous 
President Madison. 



368 MEMOIRS BY 

CFiAP. him. In some instances, indeed, the secietary sUeiclied 
his autliofity, beyond legitimate bounds, to shew the 
urmyi I piesume, ivhat he dare do. 1 will state a case or 
two, from many, by way «)f illustration. 

On arriving at tlie French Mills, my first attentioi; 
was carried to the department of provisions. I had wit- 
nessed the abuses, practised by the burthensome imposi- 
tion of transport, on the quarter-master's department, for 
the interest of the contractor; the subject of contracts 
had become familiar to me, from twenty-five years expe- 
rience, and I determined to correct the abuse, which pre- 
vailed in this quarter. I, thei*efore, made to the contrac- 
tor's agent, the requisitions prescribed by the contract, 
for the deposit, and daily issue of certain quantities of 
provisions, at the several points occupied by the troops. =- 
But it so happened, that by mere accident, the contractor 
fell in with the secretary of war, at his seat at Rhine- 
beck, and exposed to him ray requisitions; in conse- 
quence of which, he undertook to supersede my autho- 
rity, although unauthorised to do so, and on his own re- 
sponsibility, to exonerate the contractor, from his obli- 
obligation to the public, and to release him, from a bur- 
thensome expense of transportation, which was transfer- 
red to the United States.f 
Secietary It was customary with the secretary, also, to autho- 
authorls a ^'^^ my subordinate officers, to appoint general courts 
inferior martial, as in the case of Colonol Thomas A. Smith, and 
anpclnt^° Colonel Simon Larned, although the law confines the 
courts appointment of such tribunals, expressly " to any general 
officer commanding an army, or colonel commanding a se- 
parate department."^ The court is invited, to examine 
the last case, which is, probably, without parallel in mi 
litary history, and certainly without example, in free go 
vernments; that of a minister of war, by a lawless as- 
sumption of power, and an *« ex post facto** order, lega- 
lizing the illicit acts of an officer, under my command. 

' Sec Appendix, Xo. LXIV. f See Appendix, No. LXV 

I See Appendix, No. LXVI. 



martial. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 369 

To cap the rlimax of inconsistencies, the secretary, in chap, 
express contradidionj of liis own regulations, for the go- 
vernment of the iiospital, and medical department, print- -j^e se- 
ed and published in the aimy register of 1813, on tiie creuiry'a 
26th of November, in the same year, hij an official edict,* I^iUement 
issued at Albany, so far inverted t!ie order of things, as of the me- 
to put the j)hysician, and surgeon general, out of the 
way, to subject the medical staff' of the army, to the apo- 
thecai'y general, and his deputy j and to place the requi- 
sitions of the surgeons, on such grounds, as to expose the 
sick and wounded, to extreme privations and suffei-ings.f 
Towards the end of December, I began to gain health, 
and early in January, contemplated making a stroke at 
the cantonments of the enemy, in my front, and to take 
possession of Cornwall, in order to cut olf the com- 
munication between the upper and lower provinces of 
Canada ; but I met insuperable obstacles, in t!ie want 
of provisions. I then projected an attack on Prescott, 
as will be seen, from my l(;tters to the secretary of 
war, bearing date the 7th, 16lh and 18th of January, 
1814, hereunto aniicxcd.l I*'"i* this enterprise which, 
from disparity of force, could not have failed, orders 
had been given to (Colonel Bissell, and Brigadier ge- 
neral Brown, and all things weie nearly in readiness, 
when I received an order, from the secretary of war, of 
January i^Oth,§ whicli directed me to break up the canton- 
ment, at the French Mills, to send 2000 men, under Ge- 
neral Brown, to Sackett's Harbour, and to fall back with 
the residue to Plattsburgh, where huts were or<Iercd to 
be erected for their reception; but as neither time, nor 
the seasoJi, would permit this, I waved the orders, and 
found quarters for their reception in Burlington and 
Plattsburgh; which made a saving of 25,000 dollars to 
the public. 

* An ordinance of the *' War DtPARTMKST," issued under tlie au- 
thority of President Madison, wherever Secretary Armstrong- willed— 
at Albany, Utica, Sackett's Harbour, or Washinijlon City, &c. &.c. 

t See Appendix, No. XLVII. i See Appendix, No. XLVIII. 

§ See Appendix, No. XLIX. 

voT. in. 'i A 



370 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. I had sui*vived the inclemency of the winter, and had 
^'' protected every point of my command, against insult and 
injury, from the superior force of the enemy. My health 
had increased sensibly, and the season was opening for 
active operations ; I had escaped death from the hand oi 
disease, and disgrace from the sword of the enemy; when 
the righteous Armstrong, having matured his plan of 
persecution, determined to carry into effect, the resolu- 
tion he had long before taken, to disgrace me, if in his 
power; for this purpose, he recognises a letter 1 had 
written him, in November, 1813; and in March, 1814, 
tells me, I am to have a court of enquiry agreeably to 
my request, which had been forgotten; and contrary to 
all rule,* in such cases, he robs me of my command. 
Hisinjus- The documents,! to which I beg to refer the court, 
iiKfeiicacv ^^^^^^ exhibit the indelicacy of my treatment, on that occa- 
towards sion ; the composition of the court of enquiry, ordered for 
Wilkin- ^^^ investigation ; its change into a general court mar- 
son, tial, at my request; the organiz:ation oi that cojtr^; the 
Jalse pretext on which my trial was suspended; the arrest 
vihicXi followed; i\\& secret injormations on which I was 
accused; and the single charge^ with the voluminous sped- 
Jications founded thereon. 

I am convinced, that, it never was the secretary's in- 
tention, to give me a trial ; because he was conscious, the 
charges against me, were founded on fictions, and tliat 
my trial, should it ever take place, would terminate in 
his confusion. But, wonderful are the ways of Provi- 
dence! My accuser had put me on the rack, and was en- 
joying my tortures, when his self-confidence, his ambi- 
tious views, or his sinister designs, precipitated him into 
an abyss, from which it h to be lioped, for the tranquil- 
lity of society, he may never ascend. 
System of I have imputed to my accuser, the introduction of a 
es'pion^e System, of espionage, and scci'et informations, into the 

iliiis- army; and in proof of tiic imputation, I refer the court, 

tjrated. 

• General Washington, v.-hen he ordered a court of enquiry, on 
General Wayne, in 1796, con'.iniied him ir. command of the army. 

■j- See Appendixj No. L. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 371 

to the confidential report of MAJOR BELL, the assist- CH\P. 
ant inspector general, A LIEUTENANT IN THE ^'■ 
LINE, dated at French Mills, 31st December, 1813, as 
well as to the following letter. 

a War Department, May £3d, 1814. 
« Sir, 

" Your letter of the 6th instant, has been received at 
this department, and will be submitted to the President, 
agreeably to your request. 

" The charges against you, a copy of which you ask, 
are in the hands, and under the controul of the judge 
advocate, it being his duty to give to them a regular 
form. They arc principally founded on the following 
extracts of letters, or other communications made to this de - 
partment .•— . 

** General Wilkinson's orders^ to Colonel Scott, 2d artil- 
lerij, were unjustijiable, inasmuch as they would have re- 
strained and prevented the Colonel, from giving any aid 
to the militia, acting without the fort, in any emergency.'^ 

'« Not accompanying, and directing in person, the 
movement of the troops, from Fort George to Hender- 
son's Bay.*' 

<' Unnecessary delay, in moving General Lewis's di- 
vision, from Sackett's Harbour to Grenadier Island, and 
thus occasioning much loss to the public." 

" Unnecessary delay, in descending the St. Law- 
rence." 

" Neglecting to take measures proper and necessary, 
for beating the enemy, on the 11th of November, 1815." 

« Intoxication by means of spirituous liquors, before, 
and while and after passing Prescott." 

* Communicated by Col. W. Scott, it is presumed, because no other 
person was in possession of those orders. This charge, however, was 
so ridiculous, that on second thought it was abandoned. It is be- 
lieved, that for this " morceau" and the vile charge of intoxication. 
Col. Scott was appointed to the command of the enterprise projected 
against Niagara, tlie beginning of January, 1814; but, like other pro- 
jects of the secretary, was found impracticable, and abandoned, 

f This absurdity is also imptited to Col. Scott, 



37^ MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. " In leaving sundry corps, wifhmit sufficient number oj 
^'' efficient officers to attend to them.*'* 

it Unofficer-like conduct, in the affair of La Cole." 
" I am, Sir, very respectfully, 

<< Your most obedient servant, 
« JOHN ARMSTRONG. 
ft General Wilkinson.-^ 



Here then, is the evidence of secret information, from 
the secretarifs own pen, the authors of whicht have been 
carefully concealed from 7>ic, and the slanderers screened 
from punishment, in violation of the obligations of ordi- 
nary .justice, and the fundamental principles of subordi- 
nation and discipline; but I will ask, where are the in- 
formers, the spieSf tale bearers, and sycophants, who in- 
fested the streets of Washington, while I, under disease, 
and pain, and anguish, maintained my post, at the thresh- 
hold of Canada ? Of these intriguers, (who, to mtj honour, 
were my enemies, and to the disgrace of the secretary, 
were liis panders,') tivo, only, have appeared, before you, 
gentlemen; and they, in their x>ealfor the interests of their 
employer, have recorded their own turpitude, without affect- 
ing my character. I shudder, when I reflect on the ef- 
fects of a system, which subjects virtue itself, to the as- 
Reflec- sassination of the seditious and profligate. 
tlons on Respecting the system of espionage, introduced into 

tern of es- the honourable ranks of the army, by my accuser; the 
pionage, report of Major Bell exhibits conclusive evidence. This 

and its « • r.. i 

bad ten- report was, no doubt, made up under the eyes of the om-l 
dency. ^.^^.^ ^yjjp immediately commanded the assistant inspector 
general. It sliamefully garbles, and with views to my dis- 
credit, the proceedings, in the case, of the illicit general 
court martial, appointed by Brigadier-general Brovin; it 
stigmatises the chief surgeon of the hospital, whose means 
had been destroyed, by the defective arrangements of the 

* This sapient exception was also withdrawn, (after conjnnct deli- 
beration with President Madison,) from the 3d editipnof the charges 
arrayed against me.* 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 373 

quarter-master general, Swartwout, and compliments chap. 
the commanding general of the post. Brigadier-general ^'' 
Brown, not only for what he has doiiCf but also for what he 
intended to do; and thus, by the sinister intrigues, and 
insidious arrangements of my accuser, a lieutenant in the 
line, clothed in the garb of the general staff, was autho- 
rised to stigmatise the oldest, and most meritorious offi- 
cers of the army, and to degrade the most scientific men 
in the service, at the wink of the secretary, or upon the 
suggestions of his own malice, and caprice; or to pro- 
mote his own interested views, or those of his favourites. 
Perliaps, no army, of equal numbers, in the world, was Remarks 
ever saddled with so inefficient, awkward, unprincipled, °" ^^^ Sl- 
and expensive a general staff; — no matter, it extended 
the patronage of the secretary, and that was his ob- 
ject. He had determined, to fit the array to his la- 
tent views, and for this purpose, under the sanctions* of 
his o^ffke, he created himself into a generalissimo; to 
whose absolute sway, every officer must bow, or be mark- 
ed for dismission, by means direct or indirect. In his 
letter of the 25tli November, 1813, the secretary insists 
on *ithe secret confidential reports;** and says <* the inspec- 
tor who neglects to perform the duty, shall be dismissed the 
service.''^ 

It has been said, that my present prosecution is insti- 
tuted, by the executive of the government of the United 
States; but this I have denied and shall deny.:j: The 

* The submission of President Madison, to whatever he might 
propose. 

f See Report to Congress, Nov. 25th, 1813. 

i The reader must allow for my embarrassment ;— it is not treason, 
but it is sedition, to question the infallibilily of the Piesident. He 
may vest a minister with supreme authority, over the army; and this 
power may be exercised, most cruelly, unjustly, and unlawfully; yet 
the President must not be blamed, because the minister has misused 
his name and authority. The President, in military affairs at least, " can 
do no wrong." — Yea! should he burn the capitoi, it must be ascribed 
to an error in judgment only ; — his head may be questioned — but the 
fields of Bladcnsbiirgh, would silence all exception to his heart- 
equally conspicuous, for its virtues and its vtl«ur. 



374) MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, agency of the government, is merely permitted, to sane- 
^^ tion an investigation, demanded by myself, and to scruti- 
nise charges brought against me, by the late secretary 
of war, when exercising the functions of the war depart- 
ment, in his own proper name. The secretary's letters, 
of the 23d* of May and the 9th of July, covering a chai'ge 
and specifications, and more particularly, the letter of 
liis late first clerk, Mr. Parker, of the 31st of Novem- 
ber,! in which he produces two additional specifications, 
which, he says, were furnished by the late secretary of 
war, in July last; and the informal testimony, which he, 
the late Secretary Armstrong, offered to this court, by 
the hands of Major-general Lewis, all prove his personal 
agency, as my accuser; and I must be permitted to add, 
my persecutor, because there certainly can be, no clearer 
dejinition of persccutionf than the fabrication and prefer- 
ence of charges, of a heinous nature, without a shado7v of 
foundation, to support them, other than informations, whose 
authors dare not avoxv themselves. 
1 he con- qpj^g guileful conduct, of the secretary, is strongly 
Secretary marked, in his letters to myself, of the 15th, 18tlj, and 
^'^'^- 25th November, and, that of the 15th of the same month. 

stron£r«GX- 

plained by to General Hampton^ more especially when combined 
his letters ^^jjj^ jjjg conversation held with Colonel Kine:, about the 

and con- •-' 

versa- 24th November, and that to Major Lee, on the 13th De- 
tions. ceniher. In his letter to me, of the 15th November, from 
Albany, he barely acknowledges the receipt of my letters, 
of the 1st and 3d November, from Grenadier Island^ and 
promises to wait at that city, the result of my movements, 
and hopes soon to hear from me.\ In his Iciiov, to Gene- 
ral Hampton, of the same date, and written at the same 
lime, (for I received the letter addressed to myself, and 
the copy of that addressed to Hampton, from Platts- 
burglj, by the same express,) he acknowledges he had 
received information of the action, of the 11th Novem- 
ber; speculates, in his customary manner, on causes and 
cflects; betrays iiis ignorance of the country; criminates 

■ • See Appendix, No. Lf. f See Appendix^ No. LII 

i See Appendix, Iso. LIII. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. - 375 

me, by anticipation, for suffering the enemy, to pursue CHAP, 
me by land,* and to overtake me, encumbered with their ^^■ 
train of artillery and means o^ transport ; and with a per- 
fect knowledge of General Hampton's conduct, he ap- 
proves it, as far as friendly, and respectful professions, 
can convey approbation. — Contrast this letter, with his Thesecre= 
declarationf to Major Lee, in New York, on the 13th De- te/ofi5th 
cember, and what becomes of the secretary's candour, Nov. con- 
and consistency? About the 24th November, to Colonel ^uh his 
Kinc:, he condemns me altogether, for the failure of the declara- 
campaign, and in a formal message to General Hampton, Major 
the same day, by the same officer, acquits him of all cen- ^^^• 
sure; but on the 13th December, only nineteen days 
after, HE CONDEMNS HAMPTON, IN THE 
GROSSEST STYLE, AND ACQUITS ME IN THE 
HANDSOMEST TERMS. For these facts, I refer 
to the letter of Major Lee, attested before the court, 
and the testimony of Colonel King, and the secreta- 
ry's letters of the 15th of November, before referred 
to; the copy of tliat to General Hampton, being in the 
hand writing of Colonel Atkinson4 His letter to me, 
of the 18th of November, still refers to my letter, of 
the 3d, from Grenadier Island, and acknowledges a 
report, of the enemy coming up with my rear, and 
driving it in, to the main body, which he affects to dis- 
ci-edit. In the same letter, after several pretty specula- 
tions, in which difficulties are made to vanish, like mists 
before the sun, I am, expected, to turn about, and destroy, 
with a fillip, the garrisons of Kingston and Prescott, the 
former of which, he considers too formidable, to be at- 
tacked from Sackett's Harbour, \n ith our land and naval 
force united, yet, from the tenor of this letter, it is appa- 
rent he understood, my actual situation. In Ids letter, of 
the 25th, he resumes the guise of friendship, and tells me, 
he had published my letter, of the 16th, my order to Hamp- 
ton, and his reply, as he ^(foimd many agents abroad, al- 

* But the enemy moved by water, and were not encumbered. 
t See Appendix, No, XXXIX. * See Appendix, No. LIV 



376 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, ready, and a thousand reportSf quite unfounded" Among 
those agentSf he meant, I presume, to include Colonel 
Ring, to whom, he had previously condemned me, for 
the failure of the expedition. Such low cunning, and 
hypocrisy, is unworthy an honest man, and would dis- 
grace a professed charlatan. 

There remains to be exposed, one gross imposition of 
the secretary, in the report which he made to Congress, 
calculated to produce impressions, injurious to me. It will 
be found in the abstract of the troops, reported by my ad- 
jutant-general, December 1st, 1813. P rom the face of this 
abstract, produced by the secretary, one would suppose, 
that I had, at the French Mills, 8,143 men for duty, at 
my (lisposal, and such was the impression made; wliere- 
as, if, the return had been fairly stated, and the sick, 
and absentees deducted, my force would have been re- 
duced to 4,482 non-commissioned officers, and privates.* 
Mysie- The conduct of the secretary, in relation to General 

nous or- Hampton, is wrapped in mystery. He orders that offi- 
cretary cer, the 16th October, to ** approach the mouth of Chateau- 
^'^'^- gay river, or any other point which shall better faxo\ir our 
General junctloUf and hold the enemy in checkt" and this, at the 
Hampton, moment, when the troops were wind bound, at Sackett's 
Harbour, and Kingston had been agreed on, as the pi)int 
of attack. On the 30th October, he directs me « to give 
Hampton notice, of the time, and place of junction.'* On 
tlie 1st November, he forbids me, to give Sir George Pre- 
vost battle, or to advance on Montreal, before I formed a 
junction with Hampton; and on the 12th, he informs me, 
he hud directed Hampton, after he knew of his falling back 
to the Four Corners, " to take a position which would ena- 
ble him to join me, or which should detain the enemy, on 
the south shore of the St. Lawrence."\ Thus autlioi-ising 
Hampton to join me, or not, at his discretion, and then, 
in the face of his order, of the 1st November, he tells me, 
he has *' full faith that I am in Montreal.'* What a jum- 
ble of inconsistencies, and contradictions, and, yet, after 

* See Appendix, No. LV. f See Printed Report to Congress. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 377 

General Hampton had suffered himself, to be repulsed, chap. 

by a handful of irregulars, and had resisted my orders, 

the secretary acquits him of blame, and condemns me for 

the failure of the campaign. 

On the whole view of his conduct, it would appear. The fai- 
lure of 
that the secretary of war, when he projected his expedi- Secretary 

tion against Montreal, had not consulted his means, and ^'''"' , 

such appears also to have been the case, when he pro- pi^ns tra- 

jected the attack of Kingston, in his note of the 8th Fe- ^^^^^^^^^ 

bruary; his failure of calculation, in the last case, pro- tions, and 

duced the capture of York, and the reduction of Fort !?'^ ^^^^^' 

icrcncc* 
George^ and if he had not intruded himself, on the army, 

in the fall of 1813, and interfered with my command, and 
perplexed my measures, Kingston and the British squa- 
dron, would have been the certain fruits, of my plans, 
and exertions. It appears, that after his arrival at 
Sackett's Harbour, his mind became distracted by the 
magnitude of his objects, the smallness of his means, and 
the lapse of the season, and that he was constantly fluc- 
tuating in his projects. As a striking proof, of the insta- 
bility of his plans, it is only necessary to refer, to his 
change of opinion, at Sackett's Harbour, respecting the 
point to be attacked j to his orders of the 16th Oct. to the 
quarter-master general, for building huts to quarter 
10,000 men, in Canada; and to the following letter to 
myself, dated the 15th September, 1813. 

« Brownsvilkf 15th September, 1813. 
« Dear General, 

« I have this moment, received your letter of the lltli 
instant, and this will be handed you by the Commodore, 
who has done all that man could do, to bring Sir James 
to action, but without effect. He will explain to you the 
cause of his failure. I shall write to Bomford as you 
wish. One word or two, on the plan of operation. Are 
8000 men* competent to seize, and hold a point, on the 

* This savours of the secretary's projects for the cabinet, where 
vumbers were never -wanted to consummate his plans, however chime- 
VOL. III. 3 B 



378 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. St. LawrtMice, which shall have the effect, of severing 

^^ Sir George's line of communication? If a point be so 

^"^""^^^^ seized, will not, must not, Prcvost press on to dislotlge 

it, with his whole force? He must, and what then? King' 

slon and thejleet^ and the new sliipf are abandoned. Other 

three thousand may pass the lake, and demolish him. 

« Think of this, if you like it, chuse your party, go first, 
or last, sever the communication^ or take Kingston. I have 
mentioned this but to the Commodore. 

** Your's with much respect and attachment, 

*<JOHN ARMSTRONG. 

<• J^. B. I am here on a dinner party. 

« Major-general Wilkinson.''* 

The sophistry of the secretary of war, is no where 
more conspicuous, than in his letter to me, of October 
20th, 1813;* in urging; the immediate attack of King- 
ston, in my letter, of the 19th October.f as one effect of 
its reduction, I observe, "we shall capture, or destroy 
4000 of the best troops;** alluding to the garnson of King- 
ston^ and all the troops at Fork and in the Peninsula. In 
his reply, the secretary, to answer his purpose, wrests 

rical; thousands sprang up, under the spurt of his pen, and thus the 
dehisions of an arrogant spirit, cheated his understanding-, and impos--t 
ed on others ; but he never repeated the question to me. This letter 
was transmitted by Commodore Chauncey, and delivered to me atFort 
George, on the 24th September. Tlie secretary, in it, betrajs no ex- 
ception to delays, nor uneasiness for the lapse of the season. — How 
could he ? when he knew, 1 dare not move, without the protection of 
the squadron. It must be admitted, that loss of time, was produc- 
ed by the delay at Fort George, but, tlien, it must, also, be clearly un- 
derstood, that, that delay was occasioned, by the utterly, unprepared 
state, in which I found every department of the army, when I reached 
Sackett's Harbour, near the last of August, by the masterly jnanoeuvres 
of the British squadron, under Sir James Yeo, and by obstinate ad- 
ver.se winds: the complaints which have ensued, were engendered af- 
terwards, as is manifest from the testimony of Colonel King, while the 
secretary, still professed kindness, but plotted my ruin. 
* See Printed Report to Congress. f See Ibid. 



I 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 379 

the sense of my letter, and speakin.^ of Kingston, says, chap. 
« If the garrison consists of 4000 of the best troops of the " 

enemy (as you suggest) your attack will fail.** This (lis- Secretai-y 
toftion of my meanin.^, and misinterpretation of my Ian- Aim- 
j^uage; was too obviods, not to be intended by the secre- fnlen^on- 
tary, and too (iespicable for my notice. al misic- 

Di't sen tl«" 

Be["ore I close, I must beg leave to call the attention ot |,Q„g ^f 

the court, to the reports and returns of Doctor Ross, the General 

chief surgeon, on the expedition against Montreal, wltich, son's let- 

taken in connexion with his testimony before the court, terofihe 
... , 19th Oct. 

Will shew, 

1st. — That a great portion of tlie troops, I command- 
ed, were either struggling under maladies, occasioned by 
the poisonous provisions imposed on them, or so highly 
predisposed to diseases, as to have encumbered my move- 
ments, from day to day ; and, in about twenty-five days 
after entering the St. Lawrence, in November, to have 
exiiibited the shocking spectacle, of fourteen hundred sick 
men; which, in December, was increased to seventeen 
hundred and sixty-seven. 

2d. — That the deleterious properties of the provisions 
issued to the troops, were exposed by him to Brigadier- 
general Brown, and the secretary of war, on or before 
the 18th of September, 1813, previous to the sailing of 
the expedition, from Saikett's Harbour, without pro- 
ducing any salutary effect, and tliat such exposition was 
not made to me, 

3d. — That by the mal-arrangements, and mismanage- 
ment of the secretary of war, and the quarter-master 
general, Swartwout, tlie necessary provision was not 
made, for the hosjjital department, and that the sick and 
wounded were left, when in a most deplorable condition, 
without accommodation, comfort, medicines or stores. 

The reports and returns annexed will sustain these 
facts, and I have only to add, that I was, for what cause 
I know not, kept entirely ignorant of the quality of the 
provisions, and the effect it produced, on the health of 
tlie men; and to gratify personal revenge, and increase 
the number of my enemies, it will be perceived, fi'om the 



380 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, testimony ol' Doctor Ross, that the quarter-master gene- 
^^' ral, endeavoured to excite his resentment against me, at 
the very time his ruin was determined on, in another 
quarter. In effect, the Doctor was dismissed the ser- 
vice, on the confidential report of Lieutenant Bell, the 
assistant inspector general ; and heing induced to he- 
lieve, I was the author of his disgrace, he gave scope to 
his passions, in a letter to the secretary, of the lOtfi of 
August, in which I was the subject of bitter invective; 
and his restoration to office followed, on the 20th of the 
same month.* 

And now, Mr. President and gentlemen of the court, 
having finished my narrative, I shall proceed to examine 
the charges specifically, and to contrast the evidence. 

* See letter of Major Bell, adjutant and inspector general: 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 381 



CHAPTER XII. 

Remarks on that part of Charge first, contained in the first 
and second specifications of the same; and a review of 
the evidence applicable thereto, 

1st Charge. — JSTeglect of duty, and unoffi^er-like con- 
duct. 

Neglect of duty, can only be refuted, by shewing 
acts of attention, and vigilance ; and against such a 
charge, proofs of the general good conduct, attention, 
and industry, of the person accused, by those witnesses, 
who have been long acquainted with him, must raise 
a strong presumption of his innocence. A court of 
honour will not, on slight evidence, convict an offi- 
cer of negligence, who brings proof of a long series of 
fidelity, and attention, to the high duties of a comman- 
der. It is a source of satisfaction, to the accused, that 
on a trial, which involves his military character, he is 
able to satisfy the court, by the testimony of numerous 
witnesses^ that however he may have erred in judgment, 
in directing any of the operations, which his country has 
committed to his charge, he has sustained a uniform good 
character, as a vigilant, indefatigable and faithful officer. 
This is proved by witnesses, both on the part of t!»e pro- 
secution, and defence. To one of the gentlemen of this 
court, my military cliaracter has been known, from the 
earliest period of my public career. The unequivocal 
testimony of General Lewis, on the point of general cha- 
racter, vigilance, and indefatigable attention to the ser 
vice, and to the interests of the nation, is amply support 
cd, by the testimony of other honourable members of this 
court, who have served under me many years, and who 
have had frequent opportunities, to witness my conduct. 



CHAP. 
XII. 



38a MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, both in the camp, and on the field of battle. If I had 
^^^' been capable of neglect, and unollicei' like conduct, sure- 
ly no military officer was more likely to know it tlian 
Colonel Kingsbury. Honourable testimonials, in favour 
of my general good conduct, and in particular of my vi- 
gilance, industry, and indefatigable attention to every 
branch of military service, have been borne by General 
Porter, General Bissell, Colonel Schuyler, Colonel Wal- 
bach. Colonel Eustis, Colonel Nicoll, Colonel Pinkncy, 
General Macomb, Major M'Pherson, and Doctor Bull. 
Several of these gentlemen, have had opportunities, to 
witness my conduct, as an officer, for almost a quarter 
of a century 5 and all of them, have seen me in a variety 
of situations, where any want of attention to my duty, 
must have been observed and remembered. It is true, 
that evidence of general good character and conduct, as 
an officer, a soldier, and a gentleman, does not disprove 
a specific charge ; but when the charge itself, is support- 
ed by such slender proof, as has been adduced, in sup- 
port of the first charge, I might safely submit my de- 
fence, upon the evidence of my general cliaracter j but, 
as 1 do not seek an acquittal only, before this honourable 
tribunal, from tlie false, malicious, and groundless charges 
preferred against me — as my character has been traduced, 
and vilified by a banditti,, of -public and yri-cate slanderers 
— I owe it to myself, to my friends, and to my country, to 
show how utterly destitute of foundation, how entirely 
void of the shadow of proof, is the charge of neglect, and 
unofficer-like conduct, which the malice of my accuser, 
has brought against me. In the first specification of the 
first charge, L am accused of " unnecessarily delaying, 
and retarding the movement of the troops, under my 
command at Foi-t George, from tliat post to Henderson's 
Bay, or Sackctt's Harbour, during the months of Septem- 
ber and October, 1813, to the great detriment of the ser- 
vice; first by failing to make, or causing to be made, the 
proper preparations tor their embarkation, and, second- 
ly, and particularly, by causing the said troops, or a 
part thereof, after they had embarked, or sailed, from.. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 383 

Fort George, to return to the same, under a fictitious chap. 
alarm for the safety of that post." 

Wliat is the evidence, to support the first part of the 
specification ? In what particulars, did I fail to make, or 
cause to be made, the preparations, for embarking the 
troops? Was it for not repairing, with sufficient speed, 
to the scene of preparation ? — The testimony of the quar- 
ter-master general, will acquit me of that. I arrived at 
Sackctt's Harbour, the 20th of August; my order to Ge- 
neral Swartwout, of the 25th* — my general orders of the 
23d, 24th, and 27thf — the council of war held on the 26th 
• — and other testimony of General Lewis,:}: will show 
that I did not remain idle, during the ten days I spent 
there. My going by land and water, from Sackett's 
Harbour, to Fort George, will certainly not prove, that 
I spared myself, or failed in vigilance or industry. Doc- 
tor Bull testifies, that I proceeded, after sunset, from 
Sandy Creek to Oswego, and, again, from Pultney ville to 
Genesee river, exposed to rain, in an open barge. At the 
mouth of Genesee river, I met General Swartwout, and 
although in ill health, he testifies, that I proceeded, after 
dusk, from thence to Niagara, in an open wagon, unat- 
tended. Had I continued my passage by water, it ap- 
pears by the testimony of Doctor Bull,§ I should not 
have arrived at Niagara, as soon as I did by several 
days. On the road to Fort George, I was seized with a 
malady, which confined me many days to my bed, 
after my arrival there. Were I driven to the necessity 
of apologising, for not attending to my duty, I might 
have found ample justification, in my ill health; but I 
stand in no need of apologies; I only offer my sickness, 
as my justification, for not performing acts, which a sick 
man on his bed, could not possibly perform. But what, 
I again ask, is the evidence which convicts me, of failing 
to make, or causing to be made, the proper preparations 
for embarking the troops? My powers, as commander in 

• See Appendix, No LVT. f See Appendix, No. II. 

% See page 126, ante, and Appendix, No. i. § See page 208, ante. 



MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, chief, were undoubtedly extensive; but they were not 
^'*' omnipotent. Man can dispose and modify, by industry 
and skill, materials furnished to his hand ; but he can 
neither create materials, nor controul the elements. Wiiat 
could be done, with the means placed in my power, by 
any man in my state of health, I shall shew I performed. 
My orders to the quarter-master general will prove, that 
it was the very first object of my attention, on my taking 
command in the district, to have transport provided, to 
move the troops from Niagara. It has been seen, that I 
arrived at Sackctt's Harbour, on the 20th of August; and 
on the 22d of the same month, I issued an order* to the 
quarter-master general, directing him to Jay hold of all 
the small craft, along the coast, to be expedited to Nia- 
gara. Three days after, I issued the order, which the 
quarter- master general, has taken so much pains to per- 
yetuate, by placing an attested copy of it on the files of 
the war office. This order of the 25th August, so far as 
relates to providing transports, is as follows : " To my 
order of the 22d instant, respecting the providing of 
water transport, suitable to navigate shoals and rapid 
streams, I will now add my desire, that it should be 
made amply sutBcient, to bear 7000 men, w ith their camp 
equipage, baggage, clothing, &c. two month's provisions, 
about twenty battering cannon, and forty field pieces, 
with their carriages, equipments, and 300 rounds of am- 
munition each; together with the stores and attirail of 
the ordnance, quarter-masters, medical, and other de- 
partments, essential to the accommodation, and effect of 
such an armament, destined to invade a hostile country. 
Of this transport, a sufficient quantity to receive 5000 
men, and the appendages and appertenances, herein enu- 
merated, should be held in readiness at Niagara, the 10th 
of next month, and the residue at this place (Sackett's 
Rarbour) by the 15)h at farthest." On the 2d of Sep- 
tember, 1 met the quarter-master general, at the mouth 
of the Genesee river, where I reiterated my orders, for 

* See Appendisr, No. LVII. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 385 

the supply of transport, in the following terms: "The CHAP, 
transport heretofore ordered, is to be procured, if prac- 
ticable, being indispensable to the e.verutiou, of the views 
of the executive of the United States. Of ihis transport, 
a sufficient quantity to move 4000 men, with arras, accou- 
trements, and ammunition, their baggage, camp equi- 
page, provisions for twenty days, fifteen battering can- 
non (say 18 pounders) if there, and 300 rounds of am- 
munition each, thirty pieces of field artillery, with 150 
rounds of ammunition each, with tools, stores and imple- 
ments, essential to the offensive operations of such a body, 
on an enterprise bold and hazardous, must be at Niaga- 
ra, by the 10th or 15th instant." From these documents, 
it appears, that I lost no time, after my arrival within 
the district, in procuring transport, to remove the troops 
from Niagara, without a moment's delay. 

Having exhibited to the court, this evidence of my ac- 
tivity, and attention, to prepare for the embarkation, 
previous to my ari-ival at Fort George, I shall proceed 
to shew, from my official acts, what was my attention, to 
this subject after my arrival at that post. The court, in 
order to appreciate, the extent and nature of the services, 
which devolved on the commander in chief, will please to 
recollect the situation of the army, and the transport on 
his arrival. The testimony of Doctor Mann, Major 
Hite, and Doctor Bull, shews, that more than one-fourth 
part of the troops, at that post and its vicinity, were 
sick; that the army was deficient in clothing, their orga- 
nization defe( tive, and their discipline loose. It will ap- 
pear, from a series of orders, issued by me, on my arri- 
val, tjiat although sick, and unable to attend to duties, 
which required bodily exertion, I did every thing in my 
power, to prepare the troops for action, as well as em- 
barkation. On the 10th of September, a general order 
was issued,* in which I stated, that mij health disquali- 
Jied me for service^ hit that the national interests, rfe- 
manded extraordinary exertions. Ml general Jatipiest 

* See Appendix, No. i.VUt 
toj. IIP. 3 C 



386 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, were directed to ceases and tenfold exeriwnSf if possible', 
^"' were to be used in repairing the boats. On tl»e 11 th, Co- 
lonel Mitchell was ordered* to make a return to Colo- 
nel Poi'ter, of all the ordnance, and military stores in 
use, and in store at Niagara, immediately. On the 12th 
of September,! the inspector-general, with Doctor Bull, 
and Colonel Scott, were ordered, critically to inspect, 
and enrol the convalescent officers, non-commissioned 
officers, and privates of the camp and hospitals, and re- 
port, as soon as possible, to the general, all that descrip- 
tion, who were able to take care of themselves. In the 
general orders of the 18th,:j: the troops are directed to be 
immediately furnished with winter clothing, and to be 
drilled without music, to prepare them for action. All 
fatigues are directed to be stopped, and the General de- 
clared his intention, to review the troops on the 21st. On 
the 21st September, the general orders§ directed each 
boat, to be furnished with a scoop, spare oars, a small 
mast, and truck, to receive a sail in proportion to the 
boat, that each company sliouhi be furnished, with a mal- 
iet, a caulking iron, oaknm and pitch, a hand hammer, a 
gimblet, 2 or 3 lbs. of nails, and a handsaw. The gentle- 
men commanding corps, are requested to give every as- 
sistance, in their power, for the equipment of the boats. 
On the 22d, officers commanding corps, are ordered|| 
to equip their batteaux, with masts and yards, as the ar- 
tificer's lack time to perform the service. The General, 
most earnestly exhorts the gentlemen of the army, to re- 
trench their baggage, and camp furniture, to the nar- 
rowest possible compass j as the service to which they 
may be soon exposed, may subject them to great priva- 
tions, for the want of transport. The order closes by 
declaring it, absolutely necessary, that the gentlemen 
commanding corps, should use every exertion, to be in 
readiness, for the depending operations. On the 24th, 

* See Appendix, No. LIX; f See Appendix, No. LX. 

+ See Appendix, No. LXI. § See Appendix, No. LXIL 

jl See Appendix, No. LXIIT. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 387 

the following order was issued, «<the General regrets, chap. 
that he should find cause of dissatisfaction, with the con- ^" 
duct of any gentleman he commands, but the tardy man- 
ner, in which the clothing has been drawn, and the slow 
progress made in the equipment of the batteaux, cannot 
but produce the effect. This day and to-morrow, only, 
can be allowed for the completion of those objects, and 
for the return into the public stores, of all the surplus re- 
gimental property. This order must be punctually obey- 
ed, or consequences will certainly ensue, as painful to the 
General, as to the delinquent officer." By a second or- 
der on the 24th, the officers are exhorted to use their ut- 
most industry, and exertions, to train their men, so as to 
give full effect to their muscular force, and natural va- 
lour, &c. On the 25th September, the corps and de 
tachments, under orders for embarkation* are directed 
not to leave a man behind, capable of pushing a bayonet. 
2Sth, The whole of the troops, except the stationary gar- 
risons, are directed to move this day agreeable to ijistruc- 
tions. The order of the 30th of September directs the 
movement of the troops as soon as the wind serves. 

Without resorting to extrinsic evidence, these orders 
prove, at once, my great and constant exertions, to for- 
ward the embarkation of the troops, and to supply the 
deficiency of transport for that purpose. One single wit- 
ness, alone, lias been produced, on the part of the prosecu- 
tion, to establish that point, of the first specification, 
which I am now considering. But his testimony is only 
matter of opinion, and is opposed by official documents, 
and an host of eye witnesses. The quarter-master gene- 
ral, swears, that he had provided transportation, for the 
troops at Fort George, wliich lie presumes was in readi- 
ness, by the 20th of September. 

The first witness on this subject, to whose testimony I 
call the attention of the court, is General Boyd, a princi- 
pal witness on the part of the prosecution. This gentle- 
man testified, that there was never sufficient transport, 

* See Appendix, No. LXIV. 



388 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, at Forf George, and that what transport was furnished, 
^^^" was not in rcadiiiess, until the troops pushed off. Surely 
this gentleman, who was the senior oflirer at that post, 
before my arrival, j.nd commanded the division which 
saih'd thence, could not haA^e been mistaken, in l)is testi- 
mony resjiecting transpoit. Doctor Bull, wlio arrived 
thert*, shortly after mc, says that the transport at that 
pla' e, was very trifling. Major Morgan says, that the 
greatest part of '.lie transportation, was to be collected 
after m> arrival, and that it was not in readiness, until 
towards the close of September. General Bissell de- 
clares, that the transport at Fort George was miserable, 
when I arrived ; that the boats, were turned up side down 
on the beach, the sun had opened tlie seams, and they 
were much out of repair, and that as hite as the 24th 
September, he remonstrated to me, on the subject, in an 
official letter. He further stated, that many of the boats, 
were repaired by the troops, and that by the exertion of 
the officers, they were supplied with oars. The state- 
ments of thesp gentlemen, is corroborated by the testi- 
mony of General Porter, and Major Hite, who declare 
that there was a great deficiency of transport, even at 
the time of embarkation; so much so, that a large quan- 
tity of powder, was left behind. Some shot, and some 
troops, were transported in Commodore Chauncey*s 
squadron, and the boats which were supplied, were in- 
convenient, unfit for the service, and unsafe. And Last- 
ly, Major Camp, who was deputy quarter-master gene- 
ral, and who had the charge of that department, at Fort 
George, declares tliat the state of the transport, was very 
bad, and that I daily, and almost hourly pressed him, to 
facilitate the completion of the boats, and to have every 
branch of his department, in complete readiness for em- 
barkation. He]"e we find the evidence, of seven witnesses 
of character, possessed of all the means of informa- 
tion, on the subject, corroborated by the general orders, 
already referred to, establishing beyond all doubt, the 
fact of a dQficiency of transport, down to the time of the 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 389 

troops sailing, opposed by the solitary presumptionf of chap. 
the quarter-master general. ■^"* 

That tlie deficiency in the transport, is not ascriba- 
ble to any neglect of mine, lias been, I trust, made 
to appear, by the orders which I issued, as well be- 
fore, as after my arrival at Fort George. I will, liow- 
ever, state briefly to the court, the evidence of the wit- 
nesses, as well on the part of the prosecution, as of 
the defence, on the subject of my exertions. General 
Boyd testified, that 1 issued orders, to prepare the troops 
for embarkation, as soon after my arrival, as my health 
permitted. He also said, that my staff were always about 
me, and appeared engaged in business. He declares 
that he knew of no neglect, in preparing for the embar- 
kation. Doctor Bull, who was the constant witness of 
my sufferings, and my exertions, declares, that I made 
every effort, to hasten the preparations for embarking 
the troops, and that there was not an hour's unnecessary 
delay. General Bissell is full to the same points, and 
General Porter testifies, that the boats at Fort George, 
were prepared with all possible expedition; and that the 
troops sailed, as soon after the boats were ready, as the 
wind and weather permitted. He declares with Doctor 
Bull, and General Bissell, that I manifested much atten- 
tion, and solicitude, in preparing for embarkation, and 
that not an hour was lost. The journal of the campaign, 
kept by Captain Paige, under date of the 20th of Sep- 
tember, states, that the whole army were employed, in 
preparing boats. I have already referred to the testi- 
mony, of Major Camp, the deputy quarter-master gene- 
ral, who witnessed my solicitude, and exertions, in the 
constant calls, I made on him to expedite the prepara- 
tions, for the embarkation. 

The court will perceive in tliis testimony, taken in 
connexion with the series of orders, issued by me, from 
the time of my arrival, in the district, till my departure 
from Fort Gt'orge, that I was constantly engaged, even 
wliilo on a bed of sickness, in regulating the minutest de- 
tails, in the preparations for embarking the troops ; nor 



390 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, will it escape the observation of the court, that in several 
^'^* of my orders, particularly in that of the 21st September,* 
I descended into minutise,not usual in general officers, and 
which nothing but my zeal, for the public service, and 
anxiety for the safety of the flotilla, could have prompt- 
ed. I might here confidently rest my defence, against 
the charge of failure, in making preparations for the em- 
barkation j but as delays did occur, beyond my expecta- 
tion, I am bound to shew, that they arose from causes, 
beyond my controul. I may here adopt the language of 
my persecutor, and say, " itj is not disgraceful to yield to 
the elements." Here again, that champion of the prose- 
cution, the quarter-master general, stands alone bvffet- 
ing a host, though so occupied by the multifarious duties 
of his brigade, and his department, as not to recollect 
«< DAYS, R DATE S for weeks together.'' He swore, un- 
qualifiediy, on his direct examination, between the 20tU 
September and the ith October, the weather was gene- 
rally favourable, for an expedition in boats, on the lake ; 
but after having been two days, under examination, his 
confidence on tliis point forsook him ; in answer to the 
9th interrogatory, on his cross-examination, he confessed 
he could not positively say, what was the state of tli« 
weather, on the lake, between the 20th September and 
the 4th October. As this sturdy witness, thus neutral- 
ized his own testimony, on this point, he has left the pro- 
secution without the shadow of proof. The quarter-mas- 
ter general, after refreshing his memory, was only able 
to raise a doubt, as to the truth of his own testimony, all 
the other witnesses, who have been examined to this 
point, swear positively, that the weather was bad. 

In adverting to the testimony on this point, I shall con- 
nect with it another cause of delay, at Fort George, that is 
the situation of the two squadrons, on the lake. General 
Boyd testifies, that the weather was boisterous, in the 
month of September, except some days in the early part 
of it. He further said, that a short time before the main 

* See Appendix, No. LXIT. 

t See letter of Major Lee. — Appendix, No. XXXIX. 



GENERAL AVILKINSON. 391 

body sailed; a detachment embarked, and proceeded a chap. 
short distance, but returned without going out of the ^^'^• 
river; whether to wait for the convoy of our squadron, 
or on account of bad weather, he cannot say ; but he is 
confident there was a sufficient reason, for tlieir return. 
He also testifies, that from his knowledge, of the situa- 
tion of the adverse squadrons, the transports left B'ort 
George, as soon as could be done with safety. Doctor 
Bull testified, that the wind was high and boisterous, 
during the month of September, generally. General 
Bissell says, the troops encamped, on the beach on the 
25th September, and remained there until the 28th, that 
they were prevented from sailing, during this time by 
the heavy gales, and the appearance of the enemy's squa- 
dron off tlie place. Major Camp declares, explicitly, 
that the flotilla sailed as soon after the boats were in 
readiness, as the weather would permit. General Por- 
ter says, the weather was generally tempestuous, and 
boisterous. These witnesses were all attached to the 
division, and as they were constantly expecting to em- 
bark, for many days previous to the, 1st of October, it is 
very improbable, they could be mistaken in the causes, 
which prevented the embarkation. 

I shall conclude this part of the subject, by calling the 
attention of the court, to the testimony of two witnesses, 
which must establish the fact respecting the weather, be- 
yond all doubt; Major Brooks from the habits of his life, 
being bred a sailor, could not be mistaken ; a landsman 
when on shore, might not be able to distinguish a stiff 
breeze, from a gale; not so with a sailor, consequently 
Major Brooks speaks, at once, with accuracy and confi- 
dence, on a subject familiar to him. Other witnesses 
speak of high winds, and tempestuous weather. Major 
Brooks says, that from the 20th of September, to the 7th 
of October, it generally blew a gale of wind, with very 
sli9rt intervals. His testimony is corroborated, by the 
accurate contemporaneous journal of Captain Paige. By 
this journal, to the correctness of which. Captain Paige 
testifies, it appears, that on the 24th September, the New 



393 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. York militia, arrived at Lewistown, that orders were is- 
^"' sued, for embarking the troops on the 25th, but the winds 
prevented their moving until the 28th, that on that day 
they sailed, baton turning the point of Fort Niagara, the 
wind was a-head and increasing, the troops were ordered 
to return, and the wind continued heavy a-head, through 
the night and the two following days. Previous to the 
25th September, it would not have been possible for the 
whole army, to embark, had the transpoit been suffi- 
cient, and the weather and the enemy's squadron, per- 
miited, without dismantling Fort George, and leaving the 
frontier unprotected. 

It was not until the 24th, the JWw Fork militia ar- 
rived at Lewistown. This corps had been required by 
me, from Governor Tompkins, to be at Niagara, on the 
10th of September,* and the secretary of war, had pro- 
mised its arrival, on tiie day required, in his letter to mc 
from Utica, of the 1st of September, the delay of this 
corps of militia, was in itself sufficient to justify previous 
delay at Fort George, as it was deemed necessary to pro- 
tect that frontier, after the removal of the regular force. 
It is true, I could have dismantled Fort George, as a pro- 
fitless occupancy, and 1 proposed it to the secretary of 
war, in my letter of the 20tli of September; but he over- 
ruled me, as is apparent from his letters, of the 18th and 
22d of the same month,! all published in the President's 
message, of the 31st January, 1814; and to this interfe- 
rence may be ascribed, the loss of Fort Niagara, and the 
subsequent devastation of that frontier. After this view 
of the testimony, on the first branch of the specification, 
I feel confident in asserting, that not an instance of fai- 
lure of duty, in preparing the troops for embai'katron, 
has been proved ; but that from my orders to the quar- 
ter-master general, previous to my arrival, and my ge- 
neral orders after I arrived, at Fort George, from the 
testimony which numerous, and respectable witnesses, 
have borne to my exertions, my solicitude and zeal, in 

* See Appendix, No, LXV. f See Appendix, No. LXVI. 



GENERAL AVILKINSON. 393 

advancing the preparations; from the incontrovertible chap. 
testimony which I have produced, of the total deficiency ^'^" 
and inadequacy of the transport; of the impossibility of 
going to sea with our frail and crazy boats, amidst storms 
and tempests, and exposed to destruction, from the ene- 
my's squadron. The charge of delaying the movement 
of the troops, by any failure on my part, in making pre- 
parations for their embarkation, is sliewn to be utterly 
groundless. The other branch of the specification, which 
accuses me of delay, by causing the troops, after they had 
embarked, or sailed from Foit Gcoi'gc, to return to the 
same, under a fictitious alarm for the safety of that post, 
will not require much time for its refutation. To have sus- 
tained the charge, it was necessary for the prosecutor to 
shew, that delay was occasioned by the alarm, and tiiat 
the alarm was altogether without apparent or real cause. 
I have already shewn, that the secretary of war, had di- 
rected Fort Geoi'ge to be defended. To have withdrawn 
the army, at the moment it was threatened, would have 
been unjustifiable ; and if the information was such, as to 
obtain credit, I was bound to act on it, although it might 
prove to be incorrect. I cannot be convicted of the charge, 
even if the alarm had produced delay, unless the informa- 
tion which caused it, was totally unworthy of credit. The 
very terms in wliich the specification is expressed, esta- 
blishes this position. The alarm, it is stated in the charge, 
was given by me ; it could not then be fictitious, unless I 
knew the cause of it to be groundless; that is the true 
import of the word, in the construction of the chargo. Is 
tliere any proof then, that I had any agency in fabri- 
cating the information, on which the alarm was given ? 
The principal testimony on the subject, is that of Gene- 
ral Boyd : — About the close of September, one afternoon, 
a deserter came in with a paper, containing information, 
that the enemy were either to attack us tlie next morning, 
or to move off. The fort, in the opinion of the witness, 
would have been endangered, had the enemy attacked after 
the troops had embarked; but tlie troops were ordered out, 

VOL. 111. 3 D 



394! MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, and the enemy did not appear. This precaution, may 
^"" have prevented the meditated attack; but tloes it discre- 
dit the information which produced it, or prove the alarm 
to have heen fictitious ? That the information was brouglit 
in, and that it came from a source, which authorised the 
belief of it, has been proved. The paper containing the 
information, has been identified by Cohmrl Pinkney, and 
he testified that it came from a person, who was deemed 
worthy of credit ; the man was known to Coh)nel Scott, 
his name was Hopkins, son-in-law to the late Colonel 
Strong, and an acquaintance of Colonel Kingsbury ; lie 
has since suffered death, for his attar hment to the United 
States. But it is of little consequence, whether it was 
entitled to belief, or not ; because the alarm caused r.o 
delay, in the movement of the troops, as has been esta- 
blished, beyond all possible doubt. It appears from Cap- 
tain Paige's journal, that the troops had proceeded a few 
miles; that the wind was strong a-head, and increasing, 
when they were recalled. The wind continued strong a- 
bead through the night ; the fleets had been engaged, and 
were still so, when they went out of sight. General Boyd, 
in answer to the 26tli interrogatory, in his cross-exami- 
nation, swears that the alarm, diil not retard the move- 
ment of the troops, as they got back by sunrise next 
morning. General Bissell says, he should have been 
obliged to return, if he had not been recalled, as the w ind 
was so heavy a-head, he could not have proceeded, and 
it was near night; he declared it caused no delay, and 
that from his long acquaintance, with the navigation of 
the lakes, he should have deemed it pi-udent to return. 
General Porter says, the tro(»ps who had marclied out to 
meet the enemy, were gone but two hours, and that it 
caused no delay, in the sailing of the expedition. To 
dwell any longer, on this branch of the charge, would be a 
waste of time ; the substan< e of the charge is, delaying 
the movement of the troops, and as the alarm produced 
none, it must fall to the ground. 

Thus stands the evidence, in relation to my conduct, 
from the time of my ariival at backett's Harbour, until 



GENERAL AYILKINSON. 395 

the 1st of October, wljeii the troops sailed from Fort chap, 
George. It is fortunate, that the malice of my ac- ^'^" 
cuser has enabkd me, to place the events of this short 
period of my services to my countj-y, on the records of 
this court. Altliongh the witnesses, of my sufferings and 
my exertions, were numerous, their testimony would not 
have so effectiially silenced, Ihe busy tongues of my per- 
secutors and slanderers, if it had not been embodied in 
the form of judicial proceedings ; the world will noW 
know, what hitlierto my companions in arins, only have 
known — that in the midst of sufferings and distress, I 
spared no pains, to advance the preparations for the ex- 
pedition; that not an hour of my time was Inst, in idle- 
ness or self-indulgence; tiiat everyday bore witness to 
my exertion and my zeal, to promote the service of my 
country. — My orders placed on the records of the court, 
will prove, tiiat I did not limit my own exertions, to the 
duties of a commander; they will shew, that by my per- 
suasion and authority, the defect of artificers, was sup- 
plied by the exertions of the officers and soldiers ; that 
ti»e ignorance, the neglect, and defects of the quarter- 
master's department, were remedied by my attention to 
details, not within my province. But the charge of ne- 
glect, is not cenfined to the time of the departure of the 
troops : it seems to have been the policy of my accuser, 
so to frame his charges, as to embrace every mile of my 
march, and every hour of the campaign. The charges 
have been made at random, to take me flying, or to hit 
me at some unguarded hour, during the varied move- 
ments of an eventful expedition. I must, therefore, ren- 
der to my country, an account of ail my hours, to meet 
his sweeping accusation. I have shewn, that no delay 
was made in sending off the troops from Furt Geoi-ge — I 
am yet to shew, that there was none in the movement of 
the troops, from that post to Henderson's bay, or Sack- 
ett's Harbour. It would suffice for me to say, to this 
court, for the purpose of my acquittal, that not a particle 
of evidence has hern offered, of any negle't on my part, 
in pushing fitf ward the troops, I ou^ht, indeed, to ask 



396 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, pardon, of f]\e court, for occupying their time a moment^ 
^^^ on this point; but, as a scrutinizini^ enquiry, has been 
made on the part of the prosecution, into every step I 
took, betw een Fort George and Sackett's Harbour, I owe 
it to myself, to state briefly the result of the enquiry. Ge- 
neral Boyd was the first witness on the part of tlie prose- 
cution, who testified to this point ; he stated, that lie ac- 
companied *< the main body of the troops, from Fort 
George ; the night after the flotilla sailed, a tremendous 
storm dispersed the boats of his division, many of them 
were much injured, and that his own schooner carried 
away her foremast by the board; that he put into Eigh- 
teen Mile Creek, where a number of boats had assembled; 
many were on shore and wrecked, for eight or nine miles 
above and below the creek." The next day, I left my J| 
schooner, and went into the creek in my barge, to see 
what detained the boats, and to give orders to expedite 
them. 

The witness stated, that I remained there about half 
an hour, and that I made every exertion, a general could 
do, to expedite their sailing, and that there was an inces- 
sent storm, from the time of the troops sailing from Fort 
George, till the time of their arrival at Henderson's 
Bay; at the latter place, the witness says, the troops 
were delayed by the most violent storm, he ever wit^ 
nessed ; the witness also states, that he was driven b] 
the storm, into Oswego, and compelled to stay there, se^ 
veral days. General Porter states, that the weather waf 
generally tempestuous, and boisterous, from the time thf 
troops left Fort Geoige, until tiiey arrived at FrencI 
Creek. Doctor Bull sailed in company with me; he tes 
tifies, that a great number of boats were wrecked, and 
that I was very active, in putting the flotilla in motion^ 
that I despatched Lieutenant Beckct, to examine the 
situation of the boats, that I went on board Commodore 
Chauncey, to procure the protection of the squadron, and 
afterwards proceeded in my gig, along the shore, to ex- 
pedite the repairs of tiie boats. General Bissell, Captaia 
Paige, and Major Brooks, testify that the weather during: 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 397 

the voyage to Henderson's Bay, was almost constantly ghap. 
tempestuous. AH the witnesses concur, in establishing 
the fact, that tlie passage of the troops was retarded, by 
causes beyond the controul of man, and all who had an 
opportunity to witness my conduct, prove that my exer- 
tions were constant and unremitting; the corx'espond- 
ence between General Boyd and myself, proves, at once, 
the causes which produced the delay, and my own exer- 
tions to hasten the progress of the troops. General 
B»yd's letter to me, dated at Oswego, 6th October, 1813, 
gives an account of the dispersion of his flotilla, in the 
night of the 5th. On the 7th, I wrote to him, as 
follows: "Sir, I this morning, received your note of 
yesterday, and am shocked by the contents ; yet I hope, 
the arrival of the quarter-master's boats, from the falls, 
announced to him some days since, has repaired all da- 
mages; that the troops are afloat, and may reach their 
destination to-day, and of course, that this letter may not 
find you, at Oswego." On the 12th, I again wrote to 
General Boyd, censuring him for his delay, and pressing 
him in the strongest terms, to push forward the troops to 
Henderson's Bay. It was in consequence of tins letter, 
that General Boyd, on his arrival at Grenadier Island, 
requested a court of enquiry. I shall now dismiss the 
first specification, and cheerfully submit to the decision 
of the court, upon my conduct, during the part of the 
campaign which it embraces. 

Charge 1st. — Specification 2d» 

Tl)is allegation, being at direct variance, not only with 
military principles, and practices, but with the rules of 
common sense, sinks on its own imbecility, and requires 
no argument for its refutation; a military mentor, and 
the disciple of Jomini,* should certainly have known 

• Henri Jomini was a chief of battalion, attached to Marshal Nay's 
staff, distinguished for the compilation of a military tract, of consi- 
derable merit, entitled, " Grand Tactique, ou relation de la guerre de 
Sept Ans, Sec." and for deserting fiis colours and joining' the enemies 
of his patron Bonaparte. General Armstrong, emulous of the cha- 
racter of a great captain, soon after the declaration of war, published 



398 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, better, tlian to impute to the commander of an army, as 
^^*' a crime, the omission of duties, inapplicable to bis sta- 
tion, or the non-performance of a task, impracticable in 
its nature ; every drummer in tlie army knows, that mi- 
litary movements in detachment, are led by subordinates, 
while the chief gives directions to the whole. The idea 
of an individual oflBicer, accompanying the movement of 
an hundred and fifty boats, of various dimensions and 
equipments, some coastwise, and others, by the direct 
voyage from Fort George to Sackett's Harbour, in tlie 
tempestuous month of October, is worthy of the late se- 
cretary of war, because it implies powers of ubiquity, 
and a controul over the elements. Was this charge wor- 
thy refutation, I might say in my vindication, that hav- 
ing set the division at Fort George, in motion, my next 

a small duodecimo of 71 pages, which he styled, " Hints to Youngs 
Generals, by an Old Officer," and dedicated it to " The American 
Military and Philosophical Society," with the endorsenr.ent of "Grand 
Tactics." The acknowledged superiority of, General Armstrong's, 
talents and information, leaves no other apology for his barefaced pla- 
giarism in this instance, but his ignorance of the art of war, which 
cannot be acquired but by experience. General Armstrong's mili- 
tarv science and aptitudes are not denied, but it is impossible a man 
should become a practical chief, who never flanked a section, faced a 
platoon, or mounted a guard. The borrowings from Jomini are spread 
throughout the book, and are little varied from the correct translation 
in many places. The diagrams do not differ essentially but in tfie 
points of reference, and by comparing the two books, the following' 
comparisons, will satisfy the reader's curiosity. 

Armstrong's "Hints" Jomini' s " Grand Tactique.'' 

' Page 8 line 14, vol. i. page 550 line 6, 

Do. 6 do. 5, do. 294 do. 6, 

Do. 7 do 25, do. 291 do. 16, 

Do. 18 do. 11, do. 292 note. 

Do. 23 last line, do. 545 line 9, 

Do. 25 line 15, do. 534 do. 8, 

Do. 27 do. 1, do. 546 do. 15, 

Do. 31 do. 1, do, 241 do. 7, 

Do. 55 do. 1, do. 244 do. 5. 

Do. 16, vol. ii. do. 205, 

Do. 17, do. 210. 

Do. 56, &c. do. 211, &c 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 399 

duty was to hasten down to Sackett's Harbour, to exa- chap. 
mine the state of preparations there, and, (putting the ^"• 
secretary of war out of sight, where he ought to have 
been) to concert future operations, with Commodore 
Cliaiincey, and my general officers. The court are ap- 
prised of the circumstances, which attended the voyage 
of the division from Fort George, and need no extra- 
neous aid, in the formation of a clear judgment, on the 
merits of this specification. 



400 MEMOIRS BY 



CHAPTER XTII. 



Remarks on that part of Charge Jlrst, contained in the third 
and fourth specifications, and the evidence appiicabli 
thereto. 

CH\p Charge 1st — Specification 5d. 

XIII. The third specification, charges my neglect of duty, to 

^""^^"^-^ consist "in losing much time, unnecessarily, and to the 
great injury of the service, during the month of October, 
1813, at Sackett's Harbour, and in the movement of the 
troops, under my command, from that post to Grenadier 
Island, and, particularly, in causing the said troops, or a 
pai't thereof, after they had embarked, or were prepared 
for embarkation, for Grenadier Island with their stores, 
artillery, provisions, &c. on pretence of making new ar- 
rangements, thereby losing the period, most fit for the 
said movement, as to time and weather, causing the ac- 
tual movement to be made, under circumstances bringing 
with them, great delay, embarrassments, and public loss, 
and, also, greatly tending to prevent a successful prose- 
cution of the expedition, for which the said troops were 
destined." These accusations require a full discussion, 
and, therefore, it is necessary I should retrace my con- 
duct, from the time of my entering the district, to take 
on myself the command, confided to me by the executive. 
On my arrival at Sackett's Harbour, the 20th August, 
I found no preparations had been made, for a descent 
upon the enemy, nor could I discover that any idea exist- 
ed} of a meditated expedition. The troops were, almost, 
to a man raw, half-naked, and undisciplined. The trans- 
ports insufficient to bear more than six hundred men.* 
An armament of gun boats, was to be created, for we had 

* See Appendix, No. LXVII. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 401 

not one in service. The dragoons to be mounted and CHAP, 
equipped, and the artillery to be equipped and furnished '^'"' 
with ammunition. Here I sliall, again, refer to my offi- 
cial conduct, to prove my zeal and exertions, in making 
preparations for the expedition. The second (hiy after 
my arrival, and as soon as I had examined the materialsj 
collected at tliat post, I issued a general order* announ- 
cing my appointment, to the chief command, and in- 
structing the officers and men in the first principles of 
their duty. I required from tlie Major-general, com- 
manding the division, reports and returns, as speedily as 
possible, to embrace every department, viz. 1st. — The 
state of the division in relation to men, arms, clothing, 
and accoutrements, to distinguish accurately, the men fit 
for duty, the thorough convalescent, and tiiose deemed 
too feeble for the duties of the campaign. 2dly. — A re- 
turn of ordnance, military stores, and ammunition. 
3dlv. — Quarter-master's stores, tools, and implements, to 
include forage. 4thiy. — Medicine and hospital stores, 
instruments and furniture. 5thly. — Transport by land 
and water. Including equipments, and exhibiting their ' 

fitness, for immediate service. 6thly. — Clothing and 
equipments for man and horse. 7thly. — Camp equipage. 
Sthly.— -Provisions, and contractor's stores, with their 
means of transport. 

On the 24th, after reviewing the troops, I issued an 
order, in which I pointed out, the defects of their disci- 
pline, and enjoined it on them to pay immediate atten- 
tion, to the most necessary acquirements. 1 directed 
them to be instructed in the expert use of their arms, and 
a uniformity of pace in every movement. To form the 
column, and display it with celerity and correctness. 
To change front, to right and left by battalions, or bri- 
gades, with promptitude and good order, and to preserve 
the line in the front march. On the 25th,f I gave in- 
structions to the quarter-master general, reiterating my 
verbal orders, t% mount the whole of the dragoons with 

♦ See Appendix, No. II. t See Appendix, No. LVI, 

VOL. IIL 3 E 



403 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, the utmost despatch, to provide water transport, suffi- 
■^^''' cicnt to bear 7000 men, and every thing essential to 
their accommodation, and also for two month's pro- 
visions. 

That part of the transport, which was designed for tlie 
troops at Fort George, to be in readiness at the former 
place, by the loth September, at farthest; as this order 
has already been introduced, I need nr^t now recite it at 
large. I will only remark, that the transport for provi- 
sions and stores, for the ai'my, for two njonlhs, was di- 
rected to be provided, exclusive of what was required to 
convey the troops, their ammunition, camp equipage, 
and baggage. My genei-al order, of the 26th,* instructs 
the officers how to post the guards of the camp, a duty 

or WHICH I rOUND BllIGADIIiR-GENERAI. BrOWN EN- 
TIRELY IGNORANT, and the same daj, a council of war, 
Avas holden, to decide on the point against which the ex- 
pedition should move. The general orders, of the 27th, 
directs the officers on post, and of the day, to instruct the 
ceniinels, individually, in their duty.f And the order of 
the 2rth,:f: declai'es tl»e extent of a centinel's power, and 
gives directions for the discharge of t!ie several parts of 
his duty. My instructions to General Brown, who was 
to be left in command, during the absence of General 
/ Lewis, bear date the same day, and the court will ob- 

serve, entered into minulite respecting the preparations 
for the expedition, and prove that my mind, was con- 
stanily and entirely, engaged in forwarding these prepa- 
rations at all poinis, and in every direction. A variety 
of other objects, which could not fall within the scope of 
the daily orders, and aniong them the department of in- 
telligence,§ occupied n)y attention, during the few days 
of my stay at Sackett's Harbour, in August. Generals 
Lewis and Ripley, who witnessed my conduct, during 
that period, bear ample testimony to my zeal, activity, 
and attention to every branch of the service. 

* See Appendix, No. II. t ^^- ^^'i^- 

f Id. ibid. 5 Id. ibid. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 403 

On my return to Sarkett's H arbour, from Fort George, chap. 
it has te^'n proved by Doctor Bull, General Lewis, and ^^^^' 
Colonel Walbach, tliat ujy health was extremely bad^ 
Doctor Bull swears, I expressed to him, my feai's, that I 
should not be able, to remain in command j but that he 
encouraged me to expect, a speedy recovery. Certain- 
ly, under these circumstances, I could not without dis- 
hon uir, withdraw myself, by a peremptory relinuqish- 
ment of the command, from t!ie toils and perils of an en- 
terprise, which I had been called, from the extremity 
of the continent, to conduct. Tlie secretaiy of v.ar was 
on the spot, the eye-uituess of my sufferings and my 
exertions ; he could judge, as well as myself, of the pro- 
bability of my recovery, and my capacity to command. 

If that gentlemen, had attended tliis court, agreeably 
to my desire, I should have proved, that I consulted him, 
on the subject of my health, and that he opposed my 
wishes to retire, and give up the conduct of the expedi- 
tion. As the organ of the executive, lie had called me 
to the command, and if he had believed that the state of 
my health, disqualified me to continue i(, it was his duty 
to have declared his opinion to me. It was not for me 
to insist on my incapacity, to cojitinue the command, 
while my physician gave me reason to expect a speedy 
recovery, and while the secretary was a daily witness, 
of my condition and unceasing exertions, without ex- 
pressing an apprehension fur the one, or dissatisfaction 
with the other. 

I shall now proceed to examine the testimony, in rela- 
tion to the charge of losing time, ttnnecessarilji% at Sack- 
ctt's Harbour, in the month of October, and in the move- 
ment of the trooj)s from that post to Grenadier Island. 

1 might rest my defence, against the accusation con- 
tained in this specification, on the testimony of the late 
secretary of war himself. It is an extraordinary fact, 
and exhibits a sort of original trait, in the human cha- 
racter, that this minister should have been, at once, my 
persecutor and my apologist. He makes official charges 
which he unqfficially declares to be false ; he accuses me 



404« 3IEM0IRS BY 

CHAP, to Cons^rcss, and charges mc before this court witli de- 
^"' lays, which he declared to Major Lee, and to- Major 
Lush were produced by the storms of October. To one 
of those gentlemen, he says, he never expected me to suc- 
ceed in the expedition, without the co-operation of Hamp- 
ton, and that it was not disgraceful, to yield to the ele- 
ments ; to tlie other, that the expedition had been delayed 
a month, by the incUmenctj of the weather, and he was 
fearful it would be delayed longer, by the same cause. The 
latter declaration was made, at the very time, when 
I am charged with delay, and in the vicinity of the scene 
of action. lie was at Sackett's Harbour, when I ar- 
rived — he saw me land and waited on me to his lodg- 
ings — he daily conversed with me on the objects of the 
campaign— often embarrassed my operations with his 
opinions — not unfrequently interfered with my cominandj 
but never suggested that I was losing time, unnecessa- 
rily, or that the movement of the troops, was retarded by 
any want of exertion, on my part. He had taken it upon 
himself, to direct the embarkation of the provisions ; he 
had agreed with Commodore Chauncey, without consult- 
ing me, to transport Colonel Scott's regiment, from the 
mouth of Genesee river, when, in fact, the Colonel was in 
a different quarter;* he eventually decided on the desti- 
natiim of the expedition, in opposition to my judgment; 
and if he had believed, there was any unnecessary delay, 
he would certainly have advised, if not directed, the 
movement of the troops. Whatever might have been my 
own opinion, of the prudence of pushing off the troops, 
on my first arrival at Sacketfs Harbour, it cannot be 
doubted, that I should have been controuled by the orders 
of the secretary; as it has been testified by General 
JiCwis, that i always considered, the military advice of 
a superior tantamojiut to an order. I have, however, a 
more substantial defence against the accusation, than 
the opinions of the late secretary. The lateness of the 
season, the storms and tempests, the broken and disor- 

* See correspondence with Commodore Chauncey, Appendix, No- 
XIII— XXIII. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 405 

ganised condition of the army, the uncertain state of chap. 
the adverse fleets, and the deficiency in the prepa- ^^"' 
rations, afford me ample justification, for the delays 
with which I am charged. All the witnesses, not ex- 
cepting the quarter-master general, agree in their tes- 
timony, that for a number of days subsequent to the, 8th 
of October, a violent and almost incessant storm, pre- 
vented the possibility of navigating tlie lake, with such 
boats as were furnished to transport tlje army. 

It would be a waste of time, to repeat, in detail, the 
testimony of the witnesses on tliis point; but to the 
mass, contained in the records of the court, may be 
added, that of the secretary of war, in his official let- 
ter to me, dated at Sackett's Harbour, 19th of October, 
contained in the printed documents transmitted to Con- 
gress: «< Admonished (says he) as we are by the storms, 
which have assailed us, for ten days past, and which 
have not yet ceased." General Swartwout alone swears, 
that the embarkation took place, three or four days after 
the storm ceased, in which he is expressly, and most 
pointedly contradicted, by all the other witnesses. The 
quotation from the secretary's letter proves, that the 
storm still continued on the 19th ; General Swartwout 
swears, that the storm lasted six or seven days only ; the 
secretary says it had already continued ten days, and had 
not yet ceased. If these inaccuracies had occurred, in the 
testimony of a more dispassionate witness, they might 
have been passed over without notice; but this gentleman 
seems to be always disposed, to swear differently from 
otiier people ; yet this witness, on his cross-examination, 
testified that I issued orders at Sackett's Harbour, to ac- 
celerate the movement of the troops to Grenadier Island, 
and that several attempts were made to sail, which w^cre 
defeated by the storms. General Lewis testified, that on 
the 18th, 19th, and 20th, the troops which attempted to 
sail were dispersed ; that on the 19th, Colonel Macomb's 
regiment made the attempt, and were so entirely dis- 
persed, that not more than five or six boats got back to 
their moorings ^ that on the 18th, a boat was sent by 



106 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP General Lewis, to assist some of General. Covington's 
■'^"'" boats, and that slie perished with one or two of her 
crew. The tempest commenced on the 8t!i, and there 
was no time between the 9th, and the night of the 20th, 
in which the expedition could have sailed in safety; the 
principal embarkation, was on the morning of tlie 21st, 
and in the afternoon of that day. General Lewis himself 
embarked. General Swartwout agrees iviih the other _ 
witnesses, that a great number of the boats were wreck- 
ed and lost, in their passage from the Harbour to Grena- 
dier Island, and the whole flotilla were so dispersed, as 
to require several days to collect and repair them. I 
shall very often have occasion, to point out the inconsis- 
tency of this gentleman, with himself as well as with 
other witnesses. I will not dwell any longer on the tes- ^ 
timony, in relation to the length of the storm; but having 
reduced the delay and loss of time, to the narrow com- 
pass of four days, which elapsed between ray arrival and 
the night of the 8th of October, I will claim the indul- 
gence of the court, in taking a view of the causes which 
concurred, to prevent the movement of the troops, during 
that period. I will first call the attention of the court, 
to the testimony inrelation to the weather, in whi( h it is 
not to be denied, there is some diversity. General Swart- 
wout thinks, that the v/cather was good, on the 5th, 6tli, 
rth, and 8th ; General Ltwis thinks it was good, on the 
4th, though he says it blew fresh into the Harbour : he 
says the wind was high on the 5th, and questions whe- 
ther the row-boats would have got out, without great 
difficulty; on the 6th, the wind was strong a-head, and 
the fleet came in with a spanking breeze ; he does not 
distinctly recollect, how it was on the 7th; on the 8th it 
was hazy and thi'eatening, and began to rain and blow 
hard towards night. 

The diary of Captain Paige, appears to have been very 
accurately kept; and as he was on the lake, \\ith the di- , 
vision from Fort George, his observations on the state of 
the wind and weather, are certainly more to be relied on> 
t]ian obsci'vations made by gentlemen ou shore. On the 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 407 

4tli of October, we find the following entry in his jonr- chap. 
nal: « Sail early, wind fair; towards night, appearance ^'^^• 
of a squall, wind increasing; arrive at Oswego a little alter 
11 P. M. ; 5th, about 1 A. M. a very severe storm, and 
gale; some of the boats wrecked during the night; wind 
continues through tiie day; 6th, wind continues; 7th, 
the principal part of the boats arrive at Oswego : from 
the 8th to the 1 3th, the wind was high, and a great pro- 
portion of the time, the weather was cold, and disagree- 
able." Colonel Totten, who also kept a diary from the 
6th of October, says the wind blew Iiard from the west 
on the 7th, and continued blowing, violently, until the 
15th. 

Major Brooks, from having been bred a sailor, would 
be more likely than a landsman, to make accurate obser- 
vations. He arrived at Sackett's Hai-bour on the 7th. 
This circumstance furnishes data, for his remembrance 
of days, and he swears, tiiat it blew a gale of wind, with 
very short intervals, from the 20th of September, to the 
7th of October. General Porter, says, the weather was 
tempestuous and boisterous, from the time of the expe- 
dition sailing from Fort George, till its arrival at French 
Creek. General Ripley, Colonel WalbacI), and Colonel 
Eustis, give substantially the same testimony. From 
this view of the testimony, it docs appear, that the winds 
were high, from the fourth to the eighth of October, and 
that at Sackett's Harbour they were generally a-head. 
There is no diflTerence in the testimony. General Suart- 
wout was asked, whether he would speak confidently, 
respecting the weather, and answered the interrogatory, 
by saying he thought it was good. Even this most po- 
s'dive witness, does not speak jiositivelij in this instance; 
and let it be remembered, thjit most of the boats were 
slightly built, small, without decks, and deeply laden; 
the artillery scows, as experience proved, were incapable 
of keeping the lake, with a heavy surf and high wind. 

But admitting, that the weather from the 4th to the 
8th, had been such as to allow boats, to put out, it re- 
mains with the court to decide, whether other cii'cum- 



4,08 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, stances, sufficient to account for the delay, have not been 
xm. proved. Was the army, in a condition to push forward* 
into a hostile country? Was the division of troops at 
Sackett's Harbour, organized and fitted, in all respects 
to take the field, and give battle to an enemy? General 
Swartwout answered this question, by referring to Gene- 
ral Lewis. He waved giving an opinion, and declared 
he did not know the fact. General Lewis testified, that 
the regiments and corps were much divided, between 
Sackett's Harbour and Fort George. Colonel Walbach 
swears, that the corps, comprising the two divisions of 
the army, were much broken and deranged, and that 
the re-union of the corps and their arrangement into 
brigades, which was done by general orders, on the 9th,* 
was a necessary preparation for their embarkation. 

But on this subject, and before a court of experienced 
military commanders, I need not have called for the opi- 
nion of the adjutant general. The embarkation of the 
army, previous to the re-union of the corps, and the or- 
ganization of the brigades, would have been too repug- 
nant to every professional principle, and might have 
produced fatal consequences, as will be readily conceived 
by every gentlemen of the court. The quarter-master 
general, was equally shy in answering another interro- 
gatory. When desired to say, whether any advantage 
would have been gained, to the meditated expedition, in 
point of time, in comfort and convenience to the troops, 
or economy in the consumption of stores and provisions, 
by moving the division from Sackett's Harbour, to Grena- 
dier Island, before that expected from Fort George, was in 
readiness to accompany it, he could only answer, that it 
was impossible for him to say. It is most extraordinary, 
that this gentleman should be unable to say, whether any 
time would be gained by moving the troops from Sackett's 
Harbour, after having repeatedly swore, that time was 
unnecessarily lost by remaining there; and it is equally 
extraordinary, that a Brigadier-general, at the head of 

* See Appendix, No. Ill, 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 409 

the staff, as well acquainted with the situation of the two chap. 
divisions of the army, as General Swartwout ought to ^"^* 
have been, could not make up an opinion, upon the expe- 
diency of moving the troops, from Sackett's Harbour, 
before the division from Fort George arrived in that 
neighbourhood. 

It was well known, on my arrival at Sackett's Har- 
bour, that Boyd's flotilla had been dispej-sed by the 
storms, and the boats stranded along the coast of the 
lake. The quarter-master general, was called on to sup- 
ply transport, to replace the lost boats ; he has testified, 
that one-third of the transports were destroyed ; he had 
forwarded boats to Oswego, and artificers and materials 
to Henderson's Bay. It was a fact of universal notorie- 
ty, that some of the troops, in consequence of the loss of 
their boats, had marched from Sandy Creek by land : in 
this state of dispersion and confusion, it must have been 
impossible, to assemble the scattered fragments of the di- 
vision, in the vicinity of the general rendezvous, for 
many days. At Sackett's Harbour, the troops were en- 
camped, as comfortably as the weather would permit, 
and were improving in discipline. The transports were 
in a safe harbour, and the provisions and stores not sub- 
ject to waste and dilapidation. In all these respects, the 
situation of the army, must have been altered for the 
worse, by moving to a bleak and desolate island, unshel- 
tered from tlve tempests, and unprotected from the incur- 
sions of the enemy; and these disadvantages, would have 
resulted from the movement, without gaining a moment'vS 
time, or advancing the expedition an hour, towards its 
ultimate destination. 

After the ftdl exposition, which the witnesses have 
given, of the situation of the division from Fort George, 
this court cannot be at a loss in deciding, whether it 
would have been expedient, to send forward the troops 
from Sackett's Harbour, immediately after my arrival 
there, independent of the opinions, which oflicers of ex- 
perience, who were on the spot, at the time, have given. 

V0T» HI, T' F 



410 MEMOIRS BY 

CFTAP. If the court could doubt on this subject, the testimony of 
^^'^ General Lewis^ Colonel fValbacJu and Colonel Eiistis, ^vould 
be entitled to particular consideration. The first of these 
getitlemcii, gave a decided opinion, that no advantage 
wouhl have been gained, by moving the troops from the 
Harbour, anterior to the arrival of the other division. 

The adjutant general says, the necessary arrange- 
ments for organizing the army, could not be made, until 
the division from Fort George arrived; he states, nne- 
quivocally, that there was no unnecessary delay ; Colo- 
nel Eustis declares, tliat there were sufficient causes for 
delay, besides the bad weather; other witnesses, among 
these General Porter, have stated in general terms, that 
there w&s no unnecessary delay at Sarkctt's Harbour. 

It is stated in the charge, that the troops were prepared 
for sailing, at the time of my arrival. I have ah'eady 
shewn, by the testimony of General Lewis, and Colonel 
Walbach, that this assertion is not altogether true. The 
army was not organised, for action, nor was it possible 
they could be, till the division arrived from Fort George. 
It was not, however, in this respect alone, that the pre- 
parations were incomplete Here again, General Swart- 

wout signalizes himself, by his zeal to sustain the charges; 
he swears, that pursuant to orders, previously received 
from me, he had provided boats and other transporta- 
tion, adequate to the removal, of General Lewis's divi- 
sion of the army, by the 1st of October; and that by the 
4th of October, every thing was in complete readiness. 
There is a species of equivocation, in this part of Gene- 
ral Swartwout's testimony, which would do honour to a 
disciple of Ignatius Lorjola : he swears, that his prepara- 
tions were made, in pursuance of orders, received from 
me; but mark the sequel — he does not say, that he pro- 
vided the transport, required by my orders; but that 
pursuant to orders, previously received, he had ))reparcd 
transport, adequate (in the opinion of the quarter- master 
general) to the removal of General Lewis's division. 
Had he sworn, positively, tliat he furnislied the transport 



GENERAL TllLKINSON. 411 

which my nrtkrs required, the production of the orders chap. 
would have confounded him.* v ^"^• 

How did General Swartwout comply with this order? 
He says, he had prepared transport, adequate to the re- 
moval of General Lewis's division. Here is anotiier 
savinj:^ equivocation — the words of the order, were, am- 
ply sriffident. The quarter-master, substitutes adequate 
which may mean hardy siifficient, hut even on this cnn- 
struction the testimony is not founded in fact, the quar- 
ter-master general, certainly, did not mistake the mean- 
ing of the order, which directed him to make the trans= 
port, amply sufficient, to move the army, and that iri ad- 
dition to this, transport should be provided for two 
montJCs provisions, with the artillery and stores of the 
different departments. He has admitted, on cross-exa- 
mination, that such was his understanding of the order. 
The court will recollect, what the witnesses have teptified 
on this subject; that the bouts were so crowded, and lum- 
bered, that it was almost impossible to manage thenn 
Not a boat was provided, exclusively, for the transpor- 
tation of provisions, even the gun boats were loaded, 
witii hospital and quarter-masters' stores, yet. General 
Swartwout, has had tlie courage to sweai*, tliat it was, in 
consequence of the destruction of boats, by the storms, 
that it became necessary, at Grenadier Island, to embark 
the troops in provision vessels. What says the contiac- 
tor, Mr. Thorn, on this subject? No boats were assign- 
ed, for the exclusive purpose of transporting provisions, 
hnt the boats that took provisions, carried troops also. This 
testimony is confirmed, by Colonel Eustis, Major Brooks, 
and every witness, who gave testimony on the subject. 
The quarter-master general, swears with equal inaccu- 
racy, respecting the gun boats, tliese he presumes were 
ready by the 4th of October, had he done his duty, he 
would not have sworn presumptively on tliis subject. 
Before I left Sackett's Harbour, in August, I had given 
directions to have 1£ gun boats, provided and equipped, 

* See page 51, antr. 



41S MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, this will appear by my orders and instructions, to Gene- 
•^"'' ral Brown, dated the 29th of that month. It was the 
business of the quarter-master general, to carry this 
order into effect. The equipment of these boats, was 
necessary to the security of the flotilla; if I had sent for- 
ward the troops, without providing against the attacks, 
of the eneniy^s armed vessels, I might have escaped the 
charge of delay; but I should, certainly, have merited 
the condemnation of professional men, and deserved the 
execration of my country. 

The testimony of Major Brooks, establishes the fact, 
beyond all doubt; that these boats were not equipped, on 
the 7th of October, and what is still more extraordinary, 
when he applied to the quarter-master's department, to 
furnish the means of their equipment, he was refused 
with the insulting observation, of the deputy quarter- 
master, that he could not attend to such trifles. Thus it 
appears, that the most important, and indispensible ap- 
pendage of the expedition, was not in readiness, on tho 
7th of October, and that the quarter-master refused, to 
furnish the means, to complete it. It further appears, 
by the testimony of General Porter and Colonel Eustis, 
that four 18 pounders and two howitzers were mounted 
on carriages, and embarked in scows, after my arrival 
at Fort George. I might here introduce the testimony 
of several gentlemen, who were the witnesses of my dili- 
gence and my exertions, when confined to my bed, to 
prepare the troops for embarkation. General Lewis de^ 
Clares, that I made every exertion, and employed every 
means, to hasten the expedition. 

Notwithstanding my continued illness, not a single 
witness, except the quarter-master general, charges me 
with any unnecessary delay, in moving tiie trooos from 
Sackett's Harbour; I have already pointed out seve- 
ral inconsistencies in th.is gentleman's testimony, and 
shall, directly, expose a most palpable contradiction, 
in different parts of it. Having considered the testi- 
mony, in relation to the weather, after my arrival 
at Sackett's Harboir.-j the situation and disorganized 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 413 

state of the army, and the deficiency of the preparations, chaP; 
I will now ask the court, to attend to the circumstances, ^'" 
in which the army was placed at the time of my arrival, 
with respect to naval protection, I went on board of 
Commodore Chauncey's sliip, on the 1st of October, to 
obtain his guarantee, for the protection of the flotilla, as 
far as he was able to afford it. The object of my visit, 
will he best explained, by the memorandum, which I 
handed to the Commodore, and his answer, on the 1st of 
October, in which he agreed, to adopt the course 1 sug- 
gested; and to endeavour to keep the enemy blockaded, 
at the west end of the lake. 

The Commodore stated, that if the enemy was favour- 
ed, with a strong westerly wind, he might elude our 
squadron in the night, in spite of every exertion. A vio- 
lent westerly wind, began to hlow that very day, and 
continued for several days; there was every probability, 
therefore, that the enemy must have come down the lake, 
and gone into Kingston. Fully apprised of the danger, I 
arrived at Sackett's Harbour, on the 4th, and on hearing 
General Lewis talk of the troops sailing thence, 1, un- 
doubtedly, expostulated with all the warmth, which Gci 
neral Lewis ascribes to me, against exposing ourselves, 
to be enterprised on, by the enemy, on an island. The 
opinion, I expressed, on this subject, carried instant con- 
viction to the secretary of war, who trembled for his 
folly, and as General Lewis testifies, fully agreed with 
me, that the expedition could not safely sail, without the 
protection of the fleet; and I understood General Lewis 
to say, that not only the secretary, but all the general 
officers, concurred in the same opinion; even General 
Swartwout has sworn, that it would not (as he thinks) 
have been prudent, for the troops at Sackett's Harbour, 
to have sailed for Grenadier Island, before it was ascer- 
tained, that our squadron could protect them, from the 
armed vessels of the enemy ; he also says, that the rela- 
tive state of the squadrons, was not known at Sackett's 
Harbour, when I arrived there; yet, in a subsequent part 



Wh MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, of l«is cross-examination, when asked to point out an in- 
^'^^" stance, in which 1 had not heen indefatigable, in the pub- 
lic service, with not a little hesitation, and more spleen, 
he said, he had stated before, and would again state, that 
in his judgment, there had been unnecessary delay at 
Sacketfs Harbour. Does a man deserve credit, who so 
often crosses his track? — who in one breath declares tiiat 
it would have been imprudent to sail, without the cer- 
tainty of the protection of our squadron, and in the next, 
that there was unnecessary delay in the movement to 
Grenadier Island; although he, himself, admits, that we 
knew nothing of the state of the squadrons ? 

On the 6th of October, the Commodore came in, as 
General Lewis testifies, with a spanking breeze, bring- 
ing with him some prizes, and on the 7tli, he landed his 
prisoners. During the time the squadron lay in the Har- 
bour, provisions were taken on board, and the storm pre- 
vented its going out; this appears by tiie extract from 
the official letter, of the secretai'y of war: « As the fleet 
is wind bound, and the Commodore here (says the secre- 
tary) explanations on these points, may be readily, and 
conveniently given.'* The last part of the specification, 
seems to have been put in with a view, to give it a re- 
spectable, and, I suppose, a lawyer like appearance. 
The judge advocate inquired in vain, of all the witnesses, 
who were at the place, but no one ever heard of stores, 
artillery or provisions, being debarked, until the charges 
were printed. I have taken more pains to refute tlie 
charges of delay, at Sackett's Harbour, than was neces- 
sary to my defence before this court, that no doubt might 
fee left, on the mind of any man, that the chai'ge was 
founded, in the most raticorous malice. No man could 
know better, than the late secretary of war, the causes of 
the delay at Sackett's Harbour. It appears, by the tes- 
timony of General Lewis, the secretary entirely agreed 
with me, in ihe necessity of waiting for naval protection, 
yet he has put me on my trial for a charge, faise and 

GROrJfDLESS WITUIN HIS OWX KNOWLEDGE. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. Ud 

Charge 1st. — Specification 4th. chap. 

Tlie next charge wlaich I liave to encounter, is stated ^'"^' 
in the following terms: viz. " In declaring openly and 
publicly, between the l6th of October, and the 12th of 
November, 1813, and during the expedition of the said 
troops, dt>vvn the St. Lawrejjce, under his command, in 
substance, that the officers of the army, commanding iu 
boats, having on board provisions anti public stores, had 
no care or charge thereof; and that it made no jjart of 
their duty, to preserve or keep safe the same, and re- 
fusing to make it the duty of the officers, to attend to 
their safe keeping, although advised of the abuses which 
existed, in that respect; thereby causing, and counte- 
nancing negligence and waste, and inculcating on the 
minds of the officers, under his command, a disregard to 
the preservation of the public property, to the great da- 
mage of the service." 

I will premise my observations on this specification, 
by calling the attention of the court, to the loose and de- 
fective manner, in which the crime imputed to mc, is 
charged. The law requires, " the time and place, when, 
and where the crime was committed, to be set forth 
with all possible certainty, and precision."'^ « For such 
specification (of time and place) may, in most cases, be 
necessary towards the prisoner's defence." "As to the cir- 
cumstance o( place f it is in all cases possible, for the pro- 
secution, to be most pointed and specific, and therefore 
such specification can never be dispensed with, in the 
forming of the charge."f Yet is this indispensible re- 
quisite, dispensed with by my accuser, 1 doubt not de- 
signedly. If he had undertaken, to designate the place 
and mention the day, he foresaw the possibility of my 
disproving the expressions imputed to mc, by positive 
testimony ; which as the crime is stated in the charge, it 
is impossible to do. The charge was unquestionably 
framed, on a full understanding, with the witness who 
was to support it; hence the vague and insidious testi- 

* See Tytler, page 409, f Tytler, p. ?.U, 215 



416 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, mony applied to it. The most respectable aullidrities^ 
^'*'' on miJitarj Jaw, will shew, that I should be entitled to 
an acquittal from the charge, on account of its uncer- 
tainty. But I disclaim any acquittal on this ground. I 
wish not to screen myself, from an investigation, by in- 
sisting on an objection, to the form of this charge, though 
from the nature of the accusation, and the kind of proof 
adduced to support it, I might justly require from my ac- 
cuser, the strictest S]»ecification of time and place. 

The crime which is attempted to be fixed on me, in 
^ this specification, is that of countenancing, and encou- 
raging waste, and destruction, of the public property j 
offences against which, the official conduct of a life spent 
in the public service, will bear testimony. It is true, I 
am not charged with peculation, of the public property ; 

I and if I had been depraved enough, to allow fraud to take 

its course — if I had watched with less vigilance, the tricks 
and chicanery of contractors, and their connexions — if I 
had, complacently, certified abstracts, to which I denied 
iny signature* — I might quietly have divided with them, 
the profits of their labour; and the charge of wasting 
public property, would never have been made against 
nie. My general regard of the public interest, has been 
])rovcd by General Macomb, Major M'Pherson, Colonel 
Kingsbury, Colonel Schuyler, and General Porter, and 
my particular attention, to public property, has been 
proved by a witness, on the part of the prosecution, who 
lias had the best opportunities, to witness my conduct. 
Colonel Walbach, who served a long time, about my per- 
son, says, that in the whole course of his services, with 
me, he never heard or observed any neglect on ray part, 
of public property j but, on the contrary, he remembered 
repeated instances, of my calling the attention of officers, 
to its preservation. Major M^Pherson also, deposes, 
that I am strictly regardful, of the public property, of 
every species. I might refer to documents, to prove my 
attentions not only to preserve the public propertyj fj'om 

'' See page 104, ante. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 417 

waste and destruction, by the troops, but also to save the CH vp. 



government, from the frauds and specMilations, of its 
agents. An instance of my care on this point, occurred 
at Sackett's Harbour, just before the expcdiiion sailed. 
I discovered that the contractors, were taxing the public 
with the expense of transporting provision^!, from Sack- 
ett's Harbour, lor the supplj of the militia at Browns- 
ville, and the dragoons at Ciiampion, twenty-two miles 
distant. As soon as the fact came to my knowledge, I 
addressed to the contractor's agent, at Sackett's Har- 
bour, the following letter, elated, 

« SackeWs Harbour* I6th October , 181 3» 
« Sir, 

*' Believing that some regular arrangement of the com- 
missariat, existed, to supply the troops, who might be 
ordered on extra service, I considered it unnecessary to 
inquire, how Colonel Burn's and other corps were sup- 
plied; this morning I understood by accident, that provi- 
sions for the militia, near Brownsville, and even for the 
dragoons, at Cliampion, twenty-two miles distant, are 
drawn from hence, at the public expense. 1 do not recol- 
lect to have seen the contract, by which you are govern- 
ed, but if consonant to your engagements, I must request 
of you to provide without a moment's delay, for two hun- 
dred and fifty rations daily issue, at or near Ogdensburgh, 
the place, or places to be designated by Lieutenant-colonel 
Luckett, and for 450 rations daily issue at Lisbon. Should 
the terms of your contract, absolve you from a compliance 
with this requisition, 1 will thank you to signify it to me, 
that other measures may be adopted, for the subsistence 
of the troops." 

This letter could have had but one object, that of sav- 
ing to the public, the expense of transporting the provi- 
sions. Is it credible, that I should be thus strictly atten- 
tive to the public interests, on the 16th of October, and 
in a week alter should be guilty, not only of suffering, 
VOL. lU. .'> G 



XIII. 



418 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, but encouraging waste and destruction, of the public pro- 

^"^ perty ? 
^"^'^''^^ Another document, which shews my attention, to the 
preservation of the provisions of the army, is entered on 
the records of this court. I refer to my letter to General 
Lewis, dated on board the Lady of the Lake, off Grena- 
dier Island, 23d October, 1813. "Can any means be 
adopted (says the letter) to relieve Lieutenant Scott, and 
his party, and bring off the provisions, and camp equi- 
page, he left on Grand Isle? Let us save what we can, 
without hazarding more, than we attempt to save.'* 
Thus, at the very time, I was using every exertion to 
recover the provisions, which had been cast on shore, by 
the tempest, 1 am charged with encouraging profligacy 
and destruction. 

Two distinct offences are charged against mc, in this 
specification. Firsts that I declared, openly, and public- 
ly, that the officers of the army, commanding in boats, 
which had provisions and public stores on board, had no 
care or charge of them, and that it made no part of their 
duty, to preserve them. Secondly, that although I was 
advised of the abuses, I refused to make it the duty of 
the officers, to attend to the safe keeping, of the provi- 
sions and stores. It will not be pretended, I presume, 
that the first branch of the accusation, has been proved. 
As my accuser has informed mc, that the charges are 
founded, on letters, received by the war department, it 
seems probable, that either the informer must have writ- 
ten stronger, than ho was willing to swear, or that the 
special judge advocate, in dressing up the charges, con- 
sidered it his duty, to give them a higher colouring, than 
the information had done. A private conversation, with 
General Svvartwout, would not be likely to spread the 
spirit of profligacy, through the ranks of the army. The 
premises, therefore, were exaggerated, to magnify the 
cone lusion. General Swartwout is the solitary witness, 
to prove the declaration; and it is most remarkable, that 
he should swear distinctly, to expressions used by mc, in 



GENER^VL WILKINSON. 419 

a special conference, without being able to recollect the chap. 



timCf or place. The complicated duties of a brigadier, 
and quarter-master general, might indeed account, for his 
not recollecting the day^ on which the conference was 
held; but it surpasses belief, that the express words of a 
conversation, should be treasured np without the faintest re- 
collection, of the place where they were uttered. It was, 
however, extremely convenient, to forget the place; be- 
cause, if that liad been remembered, it might have put it 
in my power, to shew circumstances unfavourable to 
the witness's accuracy, perhaps to prove an alibi, for 
indeed, the quarter-master's memory is exceedingly 
treacherous, as to localities. He does not, however, al- 
ways testify to facts, which none, could contradict. With 
all ills adroitness, he sometimes lays himself open. As 
there is no pretence, that I ever made the public declara- 
tion imputed to me in the charge, and as 1 have proved, 
that the whole course of my ofScial conduct has been 
strictly opposed, to the profligate waste of public proper- 
ty, I shall proceed to consider the evidence, adduced to 
su])port the latter part of the specification. To sustain 
the charge against me, it was necessary to shew, 1st. 
That provisions and stores, were actually v, asted or des- 
troyed, by the troops, through the negligence of the offi- 
cers. 2dly. That those provisions and stores, were sub- 
ject to my controul, and that the losses by the terms of 
the contract, were chargeable to the government, and 
3dly. That I, with a full knowledge of the abuses, refus- 
ed to exert my autiiority to prevent them, when my dutj*" 
required me to do so. If the prosecution has failed, to 
establish either of those facts, the charge cannot be sup- 
ported. By what evidence, is tlie loss and desti-uction of 
provisions and stores, through the negligence of officers, 
commanding in boats, established ? Loss and destruction 
of provisions, certainly did hajjp'^n, to a great extent; 
but from the testimony of all the witnesses, it <»ccurred, 
principally, in the passage from Sackett's Harbour, to 
Grenadier Island; and while the army lay at the latter 
place, many boats were wrecked, and much provisions 



XIII. 



120 ' MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, and stores, wliolly, lost or destroyed. The testimony of 
^"' the quarter-master fireiieral, proves thut the loss by ship- 
wreck, and by boats drifting from theii- moorings, at 
Grenadier Island, was very great. Mr. Thorne, the 
contractor, says most of the losses occurred, in going 
fi'om Sackett'<7 Harbour, to Grenadier Island. We learn 
also, from Mr. Irwin, commissary of purchases, that 60 
or 70 casks and b .xes of provisions, were left on Gre- 
nadier Island, which were afterwards sent back to Sack- 
ett's ii arbour, and delivered to the quarter-master. It 
Cannot be pretended, that any human exertions, (;ould 
have pi'evented the losses by shipwreck. M\ letter to 
General Lewis, of the 23d of October, to which I have 
already referred, proves, that I endeavoured, by every 
^ means in my power, to save wiiatever could be recover- 

ed. Not an instance of itiatlention, in any (ifficcr, has 
been shewn, except in the quarter-master's and contrac- 
tor's departments, whose exdusive duty it v/as, to have 
taken the provisions, from Grenadier Island, which had 
been unloaded theie, for the purpose of repairing the 
boats. 

My general order, issued from on board the Lady of 
the Lake, off Grenadier Island, directed, <* the con- 
tractor immediately to report the quantity and condition 
of provisions, the quarter-master to have the provisions 
debarked, and secured in the best possible manner, and 
the same attention, was 'required to be paid to the 
quarter-master's stores, t0(ds, and implements, and also 
to those of the ordnance, and hospital departments. 
If the contractors and quarter-masters, had been so neg- 
ligent of their duty^ as not to have representatives on the 
ground," General Lewis was directed, " immediately to 
employ and appoint suitable persons, to supply the de- 
fect, at the expense of the heads of those departments. 
But," says General Swartwout, « I observed some provi- 
sions, and stores wasted and destroyed, during the pas- 
sage down the St. Lawrence. They were frequently left 
on sliore, by officers of the line who bad charge of the 
boats. Tliis occurred, continually^ at the various points 



GENERAL. WILKINSON. 431 

of landing, hetween Sackett's Harbour and French Mills. CHAP. 
It was a subject of continual complaint from the contrac- ' 
tors, and having witnessed these depredations, 1 had a 
special conference with General Wilkinson, in which I 
protested against such procedures, and requested him to 
issue an order, to prevent the destruction, and obliging 
the officers to take charge of them."* This is the whole 
evidence in support of the charge. It cannot have escap- 
ed the observation of the court, that this witness always 
swears in the lump. He never condescends, to give time, 
place, or circumstances. He saw provisions wasted, but 
does not describe the quantity or the manner. He says, he 
saw provisions, left on the shore by officers of the line, 
but docs not name them, and this puts it out of my pow- 
er, positively, to disprove the fact. He states that this 
profligacy, occurred at the various points of landing, be- 
tween Sackett's Harbour and the French Mills; yet he 
will not specify a single place where it happened. He 
says, it was a continual subject of complaint, by the con- 
tractor, without naming one who made the complaint, or 
mentioning the person to whom it was made. « Ji witness 
who affirms his total want oj recollection of the most mate' 
rial, and striking circumstances, of a recent and remarka- 
ble fact, which happened in his own presence, is deserving 
of very little credit, in those particulars, which he pretends 
to remember.'* j 

It is observable on the whole of this witness's volumi- 
nous testimony, that he swears with studied caution ; he 
is always positive in his facts, and always forgetful of 
Iiose circumstances, which would expose him to detec- 
tion. Most of the facts, however, that this gentleman 
testifies to, respecting the loss of provisir)ns, are of such 
a nature, that if they had been true, other gentlemen 
must have known or heard of them. It is incredible, 

* General Swartwout says, my reply to his application, was sub- 
stantiully, that the contractors were bound to take cui-e of the provi. 
sions, and tliut it was not the duty of the oiRcers of the army, to take 
charge of them. 

t See Tyilcr, page 295. 



42S MEMOHIS BY 

CHAP, that provisions should have been left on shore, at the va- 
rious points of landint^. between Sackett's Harbour and 
French Mills, and, yet, none of the gentlemen, who accom- 
panied the expedition, have seen them, except the quar- 
ter-master general. No man should be convicted of a 
crime, on the testimony of one witness, when the prose- 
cutor had it in his power, to procure morej and it would 
be most extraordinary, to convict the commander of an 
army, of an offence, on the testimony of a single witness, 
which if committed, must have been known to thou- 
sands. But I shall shew, from the testimony of other 
witnesses, that the facts sworn to by General Swartwoutf 
respecting the loss and destruction of provisions, are not 
entitled to belief. He states, that the contractors, con- 
tinually complained, tiiat provisions were left on shore, 
by the officers : — What says Mr. Thorne the coijtractor, 
who attended the expedition? — That he has no know- 
ledge, of any provisions being left on shore, or wantonly 
wasted or destroyed, by the officers or troops ; he never 
made any complaint on the subject, although head of the 
department with the army, interested in the contract, 
and responsible for losses: he says, that when the provi- 
sions were taken out, the empty casks were left behind, 
and that it was very possible, that an empty cask, on 
shore, might by a casual observer, be mistaken for a full 
one. Is it not more probable, that General Swartwout, 
made this mistake, than that the contractor, or any otiier 
gentleman, who accompanied the expedition, should not 
have seen provisions, left on shore at a single one, of the 
numerous points of landing wliere this occurred, accord- 
ing to the testimony of tlie quarter-master general? 

Mr. Thorne says, that 150,000 rations were lost, be- 
tween Sackett's Harbour and French Mills ; but he at- 
tributes this deficiency principally to the loss, which oc- 
curred between Sackett's Harbour and Grenadier Island, 
and at the last place. Indeed it appears that the 60 or 70 
barrels, tliat were left on Grenadier Island, by neglect 
or design in the contractor or quarter- master, must 
have been charged to the government, as a loss which 



GENERAL AVILKINSON. 423 

they were to bear, by the terras of the contract. If the chap. 
court will examine the estimates, of provisions on hand, ^^'''* 
at French Creek, on the 4th of November, and at French 
Mills on the 13th, and compare it with the amount ship- 
ped at Sackett's Harbour, and added on the passage, as 
stated in the testimony of Mr. Thorne, they will be con- 
vinced, that far the greater part, if not the whole, of the 
losses, must have occurred before the arrival at French 
Creek, and it is not pretended, even by the quarter- 
master general, that there was any provisions, wantonly 
wasted, destroyed, or left on shore, by the officers, pre- 
viously to that time. By the testimony of Mr. Thorne, 
it appears, that the provisions shipped at Sackett's Har- 
bour, and added on the passage, amounted to an average 
of 340,000 rations. The greatest loss was in the article 
of bread. It appears from the estimate^ made on the 4th 
of November, that there remained on hand at French 
Creek, 104,468 rations of bread and flour. Mr. Thorne 
testifies, that the daily issues were about 7,000 rations, 
in the fourteen days which elapsed, between the 2l8t of 
October, tlie day the expedition left Sackett's Harbour, 
and the 4th of November; when the estimate was made, 
there could not have been issued above 98,000 rations, 
and probably not so many, as there is no evidence that 
the troops were furnished, with several day's provisions, 
before they sailed from Sackett's Harbour. From these 
data it appears, that 138,000 rations, must have been lost 
between Sackett's Harbour, and French Creek. Mr. 
Thorne says, the whole loss during the expedition, was 
found, by the estimates made at Salmon river, to amount 
to 150,000 rations; consequently, not more than 12,000, 
could have been lost, in going down the St. Lawrence; a 
loss not equal to the allowance of twelve and an half per 
cent, which the government, by their contract, make to 
the contractor for wastage. This result is supported by 
the testimony of Mr. Thorne, and every other witness, 
except tiie quarter-master general, who all agree, that a 
large quantity of provisions, were lost between Sackett's 
Harbour and Grenadier Island, by storms and tempests; 



4i2^ MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, but none of them, except General Swartwout, witnessed 
^^*^' any subsequent destruction of provisions. There is a 
perfect agreement, of all the other witnesses, on this 
point ; Colonel Wadsworth, General Ripliy, Doctor Ross, 
General Boyd and General Lew is, on the part of the pro- 
secution, all testified, that they saw no wanton waste or 
destruction. The same testimony was given, on the part 
of the defence, by Colonel Nirolis, Colonel Eustis, Doc- 
tor Bull, Major Hitr, and Colonel Pinkney. 

Thus stands the testimony, respecting the waste and 
desti'uction of the provisions. That a considerable Quan- 
tity of liquors belonging to the hospitual department, 
were used by the soldiers, cannot be doubted, from the 
testimony of Doctor Ross and Colonel Eustis. The 
first of these gentlemen says, he observed several empt}* 
casks and boxes, marked hospital stores, which he very 
naturally supposes, had been emptied hy the troops. Co- 
lonel Eustis, who commanded the gun boats, says, that 
when he took charge of them, he found those boats deep- 
ly loaded with hspital and quarter-master's stores: he 
applied to Major Bmwn, the deputy quarter-master, re- 
monstrated with liim on the subject, and informed liim, 
that if the boats should be brought into action, he should 
be compelled to throw the stores overboard: the quarter- 
master replied, that lie might do so, and refused to take 
them out. On arriving at Grenadier Island, he disco- 
Tered that the soldiers h.id made use of some of the li- 
quoi's J he punished them, and ma(!e use of every means 
in his power, to prevent it, but it was impossible, as the 
boats had no decks, and the casks of liquor were under 
the feet of the troops : he made another representation, 
to the quarter-master f and was (old it must take its 
course, and tliat there was no remedy. Tiie quarter- 
master general says, that hospital stores, were put on 
board the gun boats, by his direction, and that after their 
embarkation, they were .under the charge of Doctor 
Hoss. Doctor Ross denies that he had any charge of 
them, and did n'>t even know where they were; but that 
when the expedition arrived at French Mills, lie found 



GENERAL AVILKINSON. 4S5 

them in possession of- the quarter-master's department. CHAP. 
Doctor Ross further testifies, that he received an order 
from me, throu.e:h Doctor Bull, nt Sackett's liarhour, on 
the 30tii of Octoher, directing him to appoint a faithful 
person, to take charge of the stores; he accordingly made 
the appointment, hut could neither obtain transport, nor 
procure a list of the stores, thoui^h he made repeated ap- 
plications for hoth, to the quarter-masier's department. 
At Gj'cnadier Island he renewed !iis application, by order 
of Gi^neral Lewis, but was told by General Swartwout, 
that nothing but omuipotencet could furnish transport 
for an army composed of such discordant materials. 

Doctor Bull testifies, that even Major Brown, who su- 
perintended the embarkation of the stores, co^dd not tell 
where they were; though General Swartwout has posi- 
tively sworn, the Major could tell where they were. Is 
it on tliis evidence, that I am to be convicted of counte- 
nancing ajid encouraging wanton waste, and destruction 
of public property ? Am 1 to be lield accountable, for bar- 
rels of brandy and boxes of chocolate, thrown so prO" 
miscuously into the gun boats, that neither the head of 
the hospital department, nor the quarter-master who di= 
rected the shipment, knew where to find them ? Or, 
shall I be convicted of neglect of duty, for not ordering 
the officers of the line, to take care of stores, which had 
been stowed on board the boats, before the troops em-> 
barked, and of which i\iey had neither returns nur in- 
voices ? 

On tills view of the testimony, I am persuaded the court 
must be satisfied, that there is not sufficient proof of the 
first point, which it was necessary to establish, viz. Tiiat 
provisions and stores were wasted and destroyed, tliroiigh 
the negligence of tlie officers commanding in boats. 

The next question to be decided, in order to sustain 
the charge, is whether the provisions and stores were 
under my controul, and whetlier government was liable 
for the losses, by the terms of the contract? 1 must again 
call the attention of the court, to the orders issued by 
me, respecting the supply of transport. As early as the 

VOL, III, 3 U 



4;26 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. 25th (lay of August, I directed tlie quarter-master gene- 
^'" ?'al, to have transport at Sarkett's Harbour by the IStb 
day of September, amply sufficient to take two montJi's 
provisions for the army, independent of thatf which he 
was requii-ed to furnish, for conveying the troops. Tlic 
quarter-master general fully understood the order ; he 
admits that he was to furnish the transports for provision, 
and directed to employ several hundred boatmen, to na- 
vigate them. Had this order been complied with, and 
the secretary of war had not interfered with my com- 
mand, the provisions would have been secured, and we 
should have hear'd nothing of their loss and destruction. 
But instead of fulfilling my order, the quai'ter-niaster ge- 
neral procured transport, in his own opinioUf adequate 
to the removal of the troops, from Sackett's Harbour, and 
without consulting me, obtained an order* from the secre- 
tary of war to the contractor, Mr. Thorne, on the 22d 
of September, to embark the provisions, in such boats as 
he, the quarter-master general, should designate. The em- 
barkation, w as accordingly made ; and if General Swart- 
wout is to be believed, idl the provisions were shipped, 
before I arrived from Fort Gct)rge, Thus were my or- 
ders annidJed, my plans deranged, my arrangements de- 
stroyed, and my authority subverted, by the interference 
of the secretary of war. My legitimate power being 
taken from me, my responsibility ceased; yet I continued 
my exertions, in favour of the public service, wherever I 
could. Not only was my authority abrogated, but the 
contractor lost all claim to compensation for losses, by 
not complying with the terms of the contract, which de- 
clares, that when it becomes necessary to transport pro- 
visi(»ns from a depot, <« tlie public agent" s, boats, and teams^ 
shall be employed in transporting them, from such depots, 
BY ORDER OF THE coMMAjiTDiivG GENERAL, on the repre- 
sentation of the contractor or his proper agent.''* Mr. 
Thorne swears^ that he made an application to me, re- 

• This was a cunning device, to conceal from me the state of the 
iransport, and to mask the failure of duty in his department. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 4^7 

specting the embarkation, nor had he any conversation chap. 
with me, on the subject of provisions, nil 1 arrived at ^'"* 
Grenadier Island, when I enquired of him what resources 
in provisions he had down the St. Lawrence. 

It was not in the power of the secretary of war, to 
alter the terms* of the contract, or discharge the contrac- 
tor from his stipulation, although he might suspend tlje 
functions of the commander of the army. Thus the con- 
tractor, by consenting to ship his provisions, under the 
order of the secretary of war, forfeited his claim to in- 
demnity from the public, for any loss which followed, 
though he has undoubtedly, an equitable demand against 
the secretary of war, for misleading him from the regu- 
lar course. If the authority, by which the provisions 
were embarked, placed them beyond my controul, the 
manner of the embarkation, affords another reason, why 
I should not be held responsible for their safety. It was 
my intention, as appears by my orders, that separate 
transport should have been provided, for the provisions, 
and boatmen employed to navigate it. But my plan 
was overruled, and my orders contravened ; the provi- 
sions were shipped, in the same boats that carried the 
troops, and landsmen obliged to manage them. How was 
it possible, amid such a scene of confusion, for the offi- 
cers of the line to prevent waste ? The barrels of bread 
and meat, were tumbled into the boats under the feet of 
the soldiers. Colonel Eustis's testimony, sliews how 
little the authority of an officer could avail, to prevent 
their destruction ; I might as well have issued an order for 
the winds to cease blowing, as to have attempted to re- 
strain the soldiers from using the stores, under the cir- 
cumstances of tlie weather and the movement. Mr. 
Thorne himself says it was, frequently, impossible, for 
the contractor's agents to make the issues, as the provi- 
sions were scattered among nearly 300 boats, and there 
were but four persons employed in making them. Ge- 

* But Mr. Armstrong has done this, to the injury of the public. 
Yet, he was supported by President Madison, in his prosecution of 



MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, iieral Riploy says, some of the provisions were used 
^ by the suldiers ol his regiment, for which he made them 
account in their rations. Colonel Macomb's regiment 
were served with provisions, by the quart or- in aster, anil 
the account rendered to the contractor. General Ripley 
tells the court, that it was imjiossible, in the scattered 
etaie of the provisions, lor tine officers to take charge of 
them ; and that he should certainly have disclaime i such 
a charge. 

From all this evidence it appears, that it was impos- 
sible to pievent irregularities in the issues, and that as 
far as it could be done, the officers certainly used their 
best endeavours to prevent them. I trust the court will 
be satisfied from the terms of the contract, tiie authority 
by which the provisions were embarked, and the manner 
of their embarkation, that I could not be held responsi- 
ble for loss, use, or abuse, an«l that the government is 
j»ot, by the terms of the contract, bound to make good 
any losses which took place, Qeneral SxvartwouVs opU 
nion to the contranj notwithdanding. 

Having shewn that the prosecution has failed, to prove 
that any provisions or stores, w^ere wantonly wasted or 
destroyed, tlirongh the neglect of the officers under my 
command | and having also shewn, that the provisions 
and stores were not, and could not be subject to my con- 
troul, it is not necessary for my defence, to consider the 
third point, viz. whether with a full ktiowledge of the 
abuses, I refused to exert my Evulhority, to prevent them, 
when it was my duty to have done so. It has been prov- 
ed, by the contractor himself, that he knew of no abuses. 
Five other witnesses on the part of the prosecution, and 
five on the part of the defence, who all had as good op- 
portuniUcs of observing abuses, as General Swartwout, 
have sworn that they saw no wanton waste or destructmu 
By the testimony of Mr. Thorne, it appears, the provi- 
sions belonged to the contractor. Ti»e contract declares, 
"that escorts and guards for the safety of provisions, 
shall be furnished whenever in the opinion of the com-r 
niandiiig officer of the army, to whom application may be 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 4S9 

made, the same can be done without prejudice." Did chap. 
Mr. Thorne, make any application to nie, for guards? ^*'*' 
So far from it, he did not see any necessity for the appli- 
cation, as he witnessed no abuses ; where then is the 
proof of my refusal to exert my autliority, when it was 
my duty to do so? Admit all that tlie quarter-master 
testifies, does it prove that I refused? He says, he re- 
quested me <*to issue an order, to prevent destruction, 
and to oblige the officers to take care of the provisions." 
And wliat was my reply ? <« That the contractors were 
bound to take care of the provisions j and that it ivas not 
the duty of the officers^ of the army, to take charge of 
them." No further conversation passed on the subject. 
This is the whole evidence, whicli is to convict me of 
profligacy. And were not the contractors, bound to take 
charge of the provisions ? Mr. Thorne says, he took the 
citarge of them, on the 23d of Octoboi , at Grenadier Isl- 
and, and assumed the whole responsibility of the losses. 
"Was it for me to interfere, with the property of Mr, 
Thorne, on the application of a person, who had nothing 
to do with it? Did Mr. Thorne commission General 
Switftwout, to require guards for his property ? Mr. 
Thorne could not have done so, for he saw no necessity 
for a guard. Whence the solicitude of tlie quarter-mas- 
ter general, to preserve Mr. Thome's property, from 
waste and destruction, when Mr. Thorne himself made 
no complaint; when he did not even think it necessary 
to ask for a guard, as he might have done by the con- 
tract ? Was it an act of disinterested benevolence, or \vas 
the quarter-master general interested, sub ros'i, in thfc 
contract? Whatever might have been the motives, which 
influenced the conduct of the quarter-master general, it 
could not be my duty, to appoint guards over the provi- 
sions, until the contractor thought tiiem necessary. Gene 
ral Swartwout has not told the court, whether he pointed 
out to me, any particular instances of waste or destruc- 
tion. I had seen none m} self, nor had any of my offi- 
cers. It is most probable, if General Swartwout saw 
any, it must have been in the boats of his brigade, and 



430 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, surely the Brigadier had power to check abuses, in the 
■^'^*' boats under his command, without application to me. As 
long as the contractor made no complaint, I had no right 
to helieve, that any considerable abuses existed, notwith- 
standing the solicitude of the quarter-master general; 
and most certainly, my duty did not require me, unasked 
to assign guards, to preserve the contractor's property. 

With these observations, I shall dismiss the considera- 
tion of the fourth specification, in which, I trust, I have 
shewn satisfactorily , that in the whole course of my mili- 
tary services, I have discountenanced profligacy and 
waste of public property, by my actions and my exam- 
ple. My order to Doctor Ross, my letter to General 
Lewis, and my general order of October 23d, prove my 
attention, and my solicitude to preserve the provisions 
and stores. I have shewn, that the greatest part of the 
loss! s in provisions, happened before the army arrived at 
Fr'-nch Creek, from causes beyond the controul of man. 
I have demonstrated that the provisions, and stores, were 
never placed under my controul ; that my orders for trans- 
port, were neglected by the quarter- master general, and 
the embarkation of the provisions were directed by the 
secretary of war, in direct contravention of my orders. 
I have proved the impossibility of preserving the hospital 
stores, from the dilapidation of the troops. Not an in- 
stance of neglect or inattention, in any officer under my 
command has appeared, nor has any proof been given, of 
my refusal to exert my authority, when my duty requir- 
ed me to do so. 



XIV. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 43i 



CHAPTER XIV. 

Remarks on that part of the first Charge, contained in the 
fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth specifications, and the 
evidence applicable thereto. 

Charge 1st. — Specification 5th. 

The next specification, betrays the stupidity of the per- CHAP, 
son, from whom my accuser received the information, on 
which the charge is founded. The offence is stated to 
consist, « in calling two councils of war, during the month 
of November, 1813, the one, at or in the vicinity of 
f rench Creek, and the other, in the vicinity of the vil- 
lage of Hamilton; and submitting thereto, the state of 
the provisions (the preservation of which had been so as 
aforesaid disregarded by him) as a reason for disconti- 
nuing the expedition, to the great injury of the public 
service.'* 

A very summary answer, may be given to the charge. 
No council of war was held, any where near French 
Creek. A council of war was held near the village of 
Hamilton, on the 8th of November, and the minutes of it, 
appear on the records of the court; but the statement 
made by me, to that council, differs widely from that 
mentioned in the charges. From the report made to me 
by the contractor, it appeared that a large portion of the 
provisions had been lost. On the day the council was 
held, I had received information, of the arrival of a con- 
siderable body of the enemy, at Prcscott, from Kingston ; 
and I had received various information, respecting the 
enemy's force below. The arrival of the enemy at Pres- 
cott, so soon after I had passed that post, was a circum- 
stance, of well founded surprise to me, for 1 had relied on 
naval protection, from my communications with Com- 
modore Chaiincey, and also, from the confident assu- 
rances, of the secretary ef war, particularly in his let- 



.J3S MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, tcr,* contained in the President's message, to CongTCSS; 
■^^^"^ of Jit.niiary 31, 1814, from which I quote the following 
^'''''~'^'^*^ extract. »*The navy would occupy the mouth of tlje 
river, and prevent a pursuit by water, by clearing the 
river of the armed boats of the enemy, l»is holding witli 
its own, (boats) the passage at Hamilton, and by giving 
support to that position." This sudden appearance of 
the enemy in force, in my rear, placed me, at once, be- 
tween two fires and cliangcd the main ground, on which 
the expedition had been pr jected, viz. the impossibi' 
lity of the garrison of Kingston following me by water, 
or (to use the language of the secretary of war,) •' if 
by landi without subsistencCf excepting what he carries 
on his back, and without artillery.''^ To this unexpect- 
ed incident may be fairly ascribed, the embarrass- 
ments and disasters which ensued, and not to me. It 
warranted the abandonment, of the expedition against 
Montreal, and a total change of the operaliolis, \yhich I 
should have adopted without hesitation, but for my unfor- 
tunate engagement to General Hami»ton, and in that 
state of peri)lexity, I submitted a statement of facts, to 
my general officers, for their advice. 

The assured co-operation of General Hampton, Hiiled 5 
I was duped, and have suffered for the faults of others* 
Tiiis may be fairly inferred, from the secretary's conci- 
liatory message to General Hampton, by Colonel King, 
and his friendly letter , to the same officer , after being appris- 
ed of his shamefd conduct. 

In the vindictive spirit of a malicious heart, my accu- 
ser loses his natural acutencss, and has consulted more 
the quantity, than the quality of his accusations. My 
letter to General Hampton, of the 6th of November, in 
evidence before the court, states, « that I had that day, 
submitted to my general officers, the state of our provi- 
sions, who determined, unanimously, it should not pre- 
vent, the progress of the expedition.'* Surely, my accu- 
ser had forgotten this fact, or he would hardly have ha- 
"tarded, the gross absurdity of charging me, with a simi- 
* See Appendix, No. laXVHI. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. ^B^ 

iar exposition, two days afterwards, as a reason for dis- chap. 
continuing the expedition, wiiicli the same council liad so 
recently determined to prosecute, the state of our pro- 
visions notwithstanding, which, Mr. Thorne, the con- 
tractor, declares on oath, had been increased by the ad- 
dition of ninety-five barrels of flour, procured at Hamil- 
ton, and it is notorious that by foraging upon the enemy, 
we were augmenting our stock of subsistence daily. 

I dismiss this groundless accusation without further 
consideration. 

Charge 1st— Specification 6th. 

My accuser having pursued me down the St. Law- 
rence, to fix upon mc the charge of profligacy, and waste 
of stores and provisions, returns to Grenadier Island j 
and renews his random attacks, for delay at every point 
of the expedition. These multifarious and sweeping 
accusations, could only have been made, to swell the 
catalogue, and to bias the public mind, by the repe- 
tition of odious imputations. It is necessary to con- 
sider this specification, by paragraphs. The first in- 
stance of the neglect of duty, is stated to be «< in unne- 
cessarily delaying the movement of the troops, under 
my command, from Grenadier Island; and particularly 
in embarking and again disembarking, the corps of 
artillery attached to my command, at Grenadier Island, 
aforesaid, without reasonable cause." It would be suffi- 
cient, in answer to this accusation, to say, that eren Ge- 
neral Swartwout has acquitted ?ue, of any unnecessary de- 
lays at Grenadier Islatid. When this standing ivitness 
for the prosecution, acquits me of a charge, it is hardly 
necessary to enquire further. General Swartwout says 
he arrived at Grenadier Island, the 22d or 23d of Octo« 
ber, that several hundred troops had not then arrived^ 
several scows and boats had been wrecked, and some 
days were occupied, in collecting and repairing them. 
After the boats were repaired, the weather detained the 
expedition, two or three days. Indeed, he says, it was 
rare to find a day, fit for sailing in boats, on the lake 5 
and in his opinion^ the expedition sailed as soon after the 
vol. II L s T 



434. 3IEM01RS BY 

CHAP, boats were repaired, and the troops organized, as the 
^'^ • woather permitted. He has no knowledge that the artil- 
lery coi'ps was embarked, and again disembarked at the 
Island. The General's testimony, therefore, completely 
refutes the charge of delay, at that place. 

General Macomb testifies, that his corps were delayed 
by some misunderstanding ; they had been directed to 
embark in tlie gun boats, by the quarter-master general; 
tlsis arrangement was altered, and the gun boats reserv- 
ed for Colonel Randolph's corps. It does not, however, 
appear that the detention had an effect, on the movement 
of the main army, for Colonel Macomb arrived at French 
Creek, before the rear of tlie army; and he now declares 
in his deposition before the court, that the storms were 
incessant and dreadful, and that it was several days after 
tlie troops left Sackett's Harbour, before they all arrived 
at Grena{ucr Island. Tiiat sevei-al boats were totally 
lost, and others required repairs, before the expedition 
could proceed. General Lewis gave a history of tlie ar- 
rival at, and the embarkation of the troops from Grena- 
dier Island. By his testimony, it appears, that the scat- 
tered fragments of the army, had not all assembled at that 
place, until the 3d of November. He says, that on the 
22d of October, I returned to Sackett's Harbour, to look 
after the stranded boats and hasten their repairs. 

During my absence. General Lewis liad the command 
at Grenadier Island. My general order of tlie 23d,* 
shews my solicitude aiid attention to forward the expedi- 
tion, with the utmost despatch. I landed at the island, 
on the 26th, after having visited the shores, on which the 
boats were stranded. General Lewis declares, that every 
exertion was made, to expedite the sailing of the troops, 
and that there was no dduijy which could be charged to 
the commander. 

The situation of the army and the transport, when it 
arrived at Grenadier Island, Colonel Walbaci) says, w'as 
miserable. Generals Boyd and Ripley, and Colonel 
AVadsworth, attribute the delays to the storms. 

* See Appendix, No. II. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 135 

Thus every witness, on the part of the prosecution, CHAP, 
acquits mc of any delay which could have been prevent- "'^ 
ed by my exertions. One of them declared, expressly, 
that witliout omnipotent power, I could not have pre- 
vented the delays at that placf. Tlie testimony on the 
part of the defence, is substantially the same. Captain 
Paige's diary, shews that the weather, from the 21st of 
October to the 2d of November, was almost constantly 
tempestuous. Colonel Eustis says, five of the artillery 
scows got on shore, and two of them were lost, which 
delayed the expedition several da^s. He testifies, that 
he commanded all the artiilerists, and that no part was 
embarked and a.e^ain disembarked, at Grenadier Island. 
He says, there was no unnecessary delay in moving the 
army. General Bissell, Colonel Nicholas, and Major 
Brooks confirm his testimony. 

It is immaterial to enquire, whether Colonel Macomb's 
regiment, could be called a part of the artillery corps; 
though from his testimony, as well as that of Colonel 
Eustis, it appears they acted as infantry, and formed the 
elite of the army. The transfer of his regiment, from 
the gun boats, to which the quarter-master general had 
assigned it, is sufficiently accounted for, by General Ma- 
comb's testimony; and although it might have detained 
his regiment, a few hours, it had no influence on the 
mttvenient of tlic army. 

The next paragraph of this fiirrago, accuses me of 
"useless and injurious delays of the army, under my 
command, in its descent of the St. Lawrence; and parti- 
cularly at the places of its encampment on French Creek, m 
Upper Canada.** The quarter-master general is the only 
■witness, who attempts to charge me with unnecessary de- 
lay, at French Creek. General Swartw out s 'ears, that he 
arrived there on the 1st of November, and remained there 
two or three days. That the weather was fair, the boats 
in order, and he was not aware of any obstacle, to pre- 
vent their movement. His testimony is contradicted, iu 
a material point, by General Boyd, another witness on 
the pari of the prosecution. General Boyd testifies, that 



436 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. General Swartwout accompanied him from Grenadiei" 
^'^ Island, to French Creek; where they arrived on the 3d 
of November. There could not therefore have been, 7na?ii/ 
days of fair weather lout, by the troops, after General 
Svvartwout arrived. General Macomb says, the rear of 
the army arrived at French Creek on the 3d of Novem- 
ber, and the army remained there, until the morning of 
the 5th, making arrangements for moving down the river, 
in ';rder of battle and distributing flags to distinguish the 
corps. General Lewis testifies, that he arrived atFnnch 
Creek, in company with me, the afternoon of the 3d of 
November. He assigns two causes for the delay at 
French Creek, one was the necessity of waiting for the 
arrival of Colonel Randolpli, with his corps; another, the 
arrangements for order of battle, concerting signals for 
the government of the flotilla, and giving proper instruc- 
tions to the oflicers, respecting the signals, and the order 
for sailing and landing. 

The importance of these arrangements, to the security 
and good order of the flotilla, must be obvious; and the 
good effect of them, was quite apparent in the passage of 
Prcscott;! and every subsequent movement of the flotilla. 
Without such arrangements great disorder, and i.aich 
loss, must have ensued. Colonel Walbach, the adjutant- 
gsrieral, testifies to the same point, and declares there 
WHS no unnecessary delay. General Ripley also says, 
there was no delay. 

This testimony, on the part of tlie prosecution, is suffi- 
cient to do away, the charge of uniiecessanj delay at French 
Creekf without adverting to the testimony, given on the 
part of the defence, by Doctor Bull, Colonel Eustis, 
Major Brooks, Colonel Nicholas, and General Bissell. 
Indee«i, except Geni;ral Swartwout, no witness has 
imputed to me, the least unnecessaiy delay at that place. 
The difficulty, and even impossibility, of getting tlie boats 
out of the Creek, as early as had been directed by the or- 
der of the preceding evening, has bei'n abundantly proved, 

The next point, at which I am charged with delay, is 
f« in the vicinity of Morrisville, in the state of New York, 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 437 

and below." The charge of unnecessary delay at this chap. 
point, has not the shadow of proof to support it, utile s ^^^' 
the opinion of Colonel Wads worth, that it was possible 
to have passed Prescott, on the night of the 5th, had 
not the troops halted, he taken for proof. Even General 
Swartwout imputes no unnecessary delay here. He 
says, the army arrived in the neighbourhood of Morris- 
ville, about 12 o'clock at night. On the morning of the 
6tli, orders were issued preparatory to passing Prescott. 
About 9 o'clock at night, the army moved by land, and 
the boats several hours after. 

General Macomb testifies, that the order of march was 
broken, and the corps were in confusion, when they ar- 
rived near Morrisville. A halt was necessary, to re- 
fresh the troops and organize tlie flotilla. 

There was n(»t time to have passed Prescott in safety 
that night, under the circumstances in which the army 
arrived. The testimony of General Lewis accounts for 
the confusion of the flotilla. He says, a part of the boats 
took the Canadian side of the island, opposite Morris- 
ville. The corps were divided, the troops much fa- 
tigued, and discovered much reluctance to proceed fur- 
ther that night, as they had rowed forty miles. Gene- 
rals Boyd and Ripley state, that, the fllotilla was in dis- 
order, and that the troops suffered from exposure to the 
cold; they agree that it would not have been prudent, 
to attempt the passage that night. This evidence, ou 
the part of the prosecution, would suffice to repel the 
charge of unnecessary delay, were it not abundantly 
strengthened by the testimony of Colonel Totten, Colo- 
nel Eustis, Generals Bissell and Porter. These gentle- 
men gave a clear and decided opinion, that it ,would 
have been imprudent to attempt to pass the enemy's fort 
at Prescott, on the niglit of the 5th, or until the evening of 
the 6th. It appears from the testimony of Colonel Wal- 
bach, that he was employed a considerable part of the 
6th, in distributing orders respecting the passage. Seve- 
ral of the witnesses, speak of the movement past Pres- 
^0% as entitled to much credit. Colonel Eustis and Ge- 



438 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, neral Bissell have described the movement, and from 
their testimony, and the trifling loss in efferting it, it is 
evident the time spent, in preparing the troops for it, was 
not uselessly employed. 

For 300 boats to pass a fortress, erected for the ex- 
pi'ess pui'pose of commanding the passage of the river, 
witli the loss of only one man, certainly required no lit- 
tle attention, in making the previous dispositions. 

I shall most wiljiugly submit, tlie whole of my conduct, 
in relation to the pass/^ge of Presrott, to the severest 
scrutiny of a military tribunal. 

I am next charged, with delay « in the vicinity of Og- 
densbui'gh, under the pretence of detaching Colonel Ma- 
comb, with the elite corps, to seize on the village of Ma- 
tilda, in Upper Canada, without previously ascertaining, 
whether the said post, 7vas occvpied hj, or whether thej 
enemy were in force there. And actually scnciing Colo- 
nel Macomb, with the corps elite, to carry the said post 
of Matilda; when the same had been evacuated, or wasj 
not then occupied by the enemy; thereby greatly, and' 
unnecessarily, impeding the progress of the army; when 
it was in my power, to have ascertained the true state 
and condition of the said post, before I made the said de- 
tachment." 

I might pass over this baseless charge with simply re- 
marking, that not a syllable of proof has been given to 
support it; were it not, that a public and S{demn accu- 
sation, before a high military tribunal, is, generally, sup- 
posed to have something besides malice for its founda-; 
tion. Few men arc so base, as to charge a man withi 
crimes, when he is entitled to commendation. It vvilli 
not avail my accuser, to say that this chariie was: 
founded on injormatiorif contained in secret whispers and 
calnmniest and in letters received at the tvar office. If i 
any man had been so foolish, or so wicked, as to accuse- 
me, of sending Colonel Macomb to attack wind mills, in- 
stead of an enemy; Colon*'! Macomb was at hand, to es- 
tablish or refute the charge. 

I am charged with delay in the vicinity of Ogdens- 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 439 

burgli, and it is disproved by every witness, as well for chap. 
the prosecution as for the defence. General Swartwout 
says, lie arrived with his brigade at the point below Pres- 
cott, on the morning of the 7th of November, where the 
army was obliged to remain, until lie went back to Og- 
densburgh with the Slst regiment, after an ammunition 
boat, which had put into the ci'eek, above that place* 
The army, however, were not idle even by his testimony, 
they were employed in preparing large oars, to descend 
the rapids. General Ripley also went back with the de- 
tachment, to recover the ammunition boat. Major 
Nourse mentions two other causes of delay, besides that 
occasioned by the ammunition boat; he says, the troops 
had all arrived at 1 o'clock, P. M., and that the powder 
w as not on board the flotilla. The boats moved, accord- 
ing to his testimony, about 2 o'clo( k, P. M. it is stated 
in the report published by the late secretary of war, and 
communicated to Congress by the President, on the 31st 
January, IS 14, which forms a part of the evidence before 
this court, that ** in passing Prcscott, two of our largest 
vessels, loaded with provisions, artillery, and ordnance 
stores, either through cowardice or treachery, had been 
run into the river near Ogdensburgh, and opposite Pres- 
cott. The enemy kept up so constant a cannonade on 
them, that we found it difficult, and lost half a day, to get 
tljem out." 

The delay wliich took place below Ogdensburgh, is 
therefore sutEciently accounted for, without enquiring 
whether the detachment of Colonel Macomb, was a ne- 
cessary measure, or whether it produced delay. Re- 
specting that detachment, the court have fortunately the 
best evidence, that the case admits of, the deposition of 
General Macomb, taken on behalf of the prosecution. 

The General says, he received orders from me, on 
the morning of the 7th of November, to cross to the 
Canada shore, for the purpose of driving the enemy, 
from the prominent points of the river; and particu- 
larly Fort Matilda. That Colonel Swift, of the engi- 
weers., was sent to him^ to inform him of the contour 



440 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, of the Canada shore, from which General Macomb 
^^^' very properly presumes, the shore had been reconnoi- 
tred. General Maromb testifies, that he proceeded 
down the river, about 8 miles, when the enemy ap- 
peared on the shore, and commenced firing on our boats. 
The troops landed under the enemy's fire, and he retired 
precipitately into tlie wood. An officer of the regulars 
was taken prisoner, who informed General Macomb, that 
their force consisted of about 200 militia and Indians and 
100 regulars; Colonel Macomb then proceeded to Matil- 
da, about a mile below. The enemy ran off, leaving in 
the barracks, 8 or 10 muskets. The river at Matilda? \ 
is 500 yards wide. The battery was not quite complet- \ 
ed, but was surrounded by narrow trenches, for the mili- 
tia to stand in, to fire on the boats, which, says General 
Macoinb, would have catised great loss and confusion in 
our llotilla, as the battery is at the head of a rapid, and 
boats would have to pass near it. 

General Macomb further testifies, that the garrison 
retreated from Matilda, in consequence of his movement; 
that they had consisted of two hundred Indians and mili- 
tia, and 100 regulars, and that it was reported^ previous 
to his being detached, that tlie militia of the country were 
in arms, and meant to take post at the narrow passes, to 
dispute our passage. It was also reported, that pieces of 
artillery, were on their way to defend the passes, all 
which, he says, proved to be true. Genei-al Macomb 
further says, there were every indication of a large force, 
and the detachment was, in his opinion, proper and ne- 
cessary f and caused no delay in the movements of the 
army. The flotilla joined him, next morning, at Ma- 
tilda. 

The official letter of General Macomb to me, on the 
morning of the 8th, agrees precisely with the statement 
in his deposition. The letter was written on the spot> 
«< and states it to be so situated, as to be susceptible of 
aunoying our boats, materially in passing it." 

General Lewis, and General Bissell, saw a party of 
the enemy, consisting of about 100 or 150 men, moving 



GENERAL WILKINSON. AsU 

up the river, on the morning of the 8tli, which, tliey pre- chap. 
Slimed, were a part of the garrison of Matilda. General J^'J^ 
Lewis says, the detachment of Colonel Macomb, did not 
cause a moment's delay, in the movement of the army. 
He agrees with General Macomb, that the enemy, posted 
at Matilda, \vould have annoyed our flotilla very much- 
The adjutant-general. Colonel Walbach, testifies that in- 
formation had been received by me, that the enemy were 
posted below. Captain Riddle, w ho was detached with Ge- 
neral Macomb, corroborates the testimony of the latter. 
Colonel Eustis says, that, in the forenoon of the 7th^ 
about 200 of the enemy showed tliemselves, on the Ca- 
nada shore, with tw^o field pieces. In the arternoon, lie 
saw two field pieces, which he presumes were the same, 
equipped as light artillery, marching down the bank of 
the river at full gallop. They fired at our boats, chiefly 
at the General's schooner. Colonel Walbach says, it 
was about a mile above Matilda, that my boat was fired 
on, and about the time Colonel Macomb dispersed the ene- 
my. It appears from the testimony, that the enemy had 
taken post at Matilda, and were in force there, when Co- 
lonel Macomb was detached. The pieces of artillery, 
which moved with such celerity down the river, were, 
doubtless, on their way to that station. 

From all the evidence it appears, the information re- 
ceived, "that the country was in arms, and that the mili- 
tia intended to dispute our passage at the narrow passes,"' 
was perfectly correct. And as it abundantly proved, that 
the detachment caused no delay, it will not be contended, 
I trust, that any crime is proved against me, in relation 
to it. 

My accuser, tired it seems of pursuing me, step by 
step, in my dilatory course, closes his catalogue with a 
sweeping clause, extending from Prescott to Cornwall : 
— " Similar delays at various other places," is rather a 
loose expression in judicial proceedings; it hardly com- 
ports with that strictness, which the writers on military 
law require, in stating charges. Waving, however, for- 
mal objections, I ask where is the evidence to convict me> 

YOL. Ill, 3 K 



143 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, of delays below Matilda ? for I have rendered an account 
^^^' of my movements to that place. The army arrived at the 
White House, on the morning of the 8th of Nov.j here 
the dragoons were crossed over the St. Lawrence. All tlie 
witnesses agree, that this was the most convenient place, 
on the river, for crossing them; and most of them say, 
that this operation occwpicd, nearly all the time that the 
troops lay, at the White House. General Swartwout says, 
the troops left the White House, on the morning of the 9th, 
and made a good day's march. General Macomb says, 
there was no unnecessary delay, at the White House. He 
proceeded on shore on the 9th with General Brown. The 
enemy fired on tlie rear, and a man was killed, in the 
course of the day, but tlie army was not delayed. 

By the testimony of Colonel Walbach, it is proved, 
that the boats proceeded much faster, than the troops on 
sh<^re, and General Macomb says, the boats could move 
twice as fast as the men could march. It was, therefore, 
necessary for the flotilla to wait, until the troops, which 
marched by land, had proceeded some distance. This cir- 
cumstance, accounts for the delay of the flotilla, on the 
morning of the 9th ; for although it did not move, for se- 
veral hours after the troops marched by land, it overtook 
them mid-way between the White House and Chrystlcr's, 
where the whole encamped. It was probably from not at- 
tending to this circumstance, that Colonel Wadsworth 
thought, there was no delay in moving the flotilla, on 
the morning of the 9th. His testimony is certainly op- 
posed to every other witness, both for the prosecution 
and defence. General Lewis, General Bissell, Colonel 
Walbach, General Macomb, Colonel Eustis, and Major 
Hite testify, that there was no unnecessary delay at this 
point. Major Hite says, the flotilla passed General 
Brown's advance about 1 o'clock P. M. though it did not 
move for a considerable time after him. It will be re- 
collected too, tiiat the dragoons were crossed in tlie ar- 
tillery scows, and, consequently, the flotilla could not 
move, until that service was performed, and the artillery 
fe-embarked in the scows. It must be recollected, that 



GENERAL "WILKINSON. 443 

this expedition, formed Colonel Wadsworth's noviciate cH\p. 
in war, and therefore he could not be the most competent ^^° 
judge, of military combinations and movements; else he 
would have known, that a body of cavalry, could not 
have kept pace with boats, floating at the rate of six or 
seven miles an hour. The Colonel's celerity of move- 
ment, probably is taken from the expedition of his voy- 
ages, when trading between Montreal and Kingston, not 
long since. 

Leaving the White House, I proceed to consider^ the 
evidence respecting the delay, which took place, near 
Chrystler's, on the 10th and 11th of November. Two 
witnesses on the part of the prosecution, the quarter- 
master general and General Boyd, testified, that the de- 
lay on the morning of the 10th, was not in their opinion 
necessary. Tliis is certainly a mere opinion^ and cannot 
convict me, if I shew sufficient causes for the delay, and 
this, I trust, I have abundantly shewn. On the morning 
of the 10th, at a very early hour, General Brown had 
been ordered down the river, with a considerable force, to 
clear its left bank of the enemy, who were reported to be 
collected there. General Bissell liad also been directed? 
to dislodge the enemy from an island, in the Long Saut. 
The propriety of both these detachments will be appa- 
rent, from a consideration of tlie results of these move- 
ments. General Brown, according to the testimony of 
General Macomb, engaged the enemy at Hoop-pole 
Creek, near a block house which they occupied on the 
bank of the river. 

The enemy's force, consisted of about 1,500 militia 
and some Indians, under Colonel Dennis of the regular 
army. By the testimony of Major Lee, who accompa- 
nied General Brown, it appears, that the detachment was 
delayed, several hours, on account of the bridges, being 
broken up by the enemy. Many of the witnesses heard 
the firing of General Brown's cannon, about noon of the 
10th. Colonel Walbachj Colonel Pinkney, General 
Lewis, and Doctor Bull testify, that the delay of the 
flotilla, was occasioned by General Bown's detiichment^ 



444! MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, and by not having' any information from him. Major 
^'^ Lee. expressed his belief, that there were innumerable 
points, from whenre the enemy might have annoyed our 
flotilla, in its descent of the rapids. General Bissell tes- 
tifies, that he Nvas ordered to proceed down the river, on 
the 10th, to dislodge the enemy from an island, in the 
Long Saut, where they were reported to be stationed j 
but he was unavoidably detained by the desertion of his 
pilot, until the morning of the 11th, when he proceeded 
down the river, landed on the island, found fires still bunN 
ing, breast works of logs, abbatis, trails, and other indi- 
cations of its having been recently occupied by an enemy. 
In this, he was confirmed, by information, received from 
females on the island, and a man on the American shore. 
From the description given by General Bissell, the ene- 
my must have been posted very advantageously, to assail 
us in our descent. Almost the only practicable landing 
place, was abbatied with logs, and in his opinion an ene- 
my posted there, even with musketry, might have an':<*y" 
ed us very much, without exposure. His account of the 
navigation of that rapid, differs very much from Colonel 
Wadsworth's, as does that of every otlicr witness. From 
the information received by General Bissell, it cannot be 
doubted, that the enemy left the island, in consequence of 
General Brown's approach. 

Can the court, from the testimony they have before 
them, of the number of the enemy collected along the 
Saut; of the strength and position of their posts, and the 
dangers of the navigation of that rapid, have any doubts 
whether it would have been prudent, to proceed with the 
flotilla, down a rapid of such length and violence, with 
out previously taking measures, to dislodge the enemj 
from the posts whicli they occupied ? if these precau- 
tions had not been taken, and I had met with loss, mis- 
fortune, or discomfiture, I shotdd have merited death ; 
but the very measures, which prevented disaster, my ac- 
cuser now attempts to turn against me and convert into 
criminal neglect. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 445 

Colonel Wadsworth, who seems to think as lightly of chap. 
the enemy's spirit, as of the dangers of navigating the ^^^" 
Saut, would have advised me to take mj chance, and 
leave the cavalry to sliift for itself, between the White 
House and Barnhart's, a distance of tliirty-three miles, 
with 1,500 of the enemy in front, and a similar force in 
the rear,' but it must be remembered, that the Colonel 
was a mere spectator ^ and in general a distant one, of 
the movements of the army, and, therefore, can be no 
judge of the merits of its operations j and if the enemy 
presumed to fire on us, he declares he would have landed, 
and destrcjyed them. This certainly would have been 
spirited advice^ and no douht the Colonel would have 
cheerfully volunteered to lead the party on the island. If 
however Generals Bissell and Lewis, are to be credited, 
it miglit have been attended with more difficulty, and oc- 
casioned more loss, than the Colonel apprehends. 

General Bissell took great precaution, in entering the 
rapid, to keep his boats apart; yet he says, they ran foul 
of each other, and some of them nearly filled. If the 
court should think there was a sufficient reason, to make 
the detachments, they cannot think there was any unne- 
cessary delay. From the testimony of several witnesses, 
it has been shewn, that in less rapid i)arts of the river, 
the boats would float, twice as fast as troops could move 
on shore. Even, if it had not been proper to wait for 
intelligence from General Brown, and the boats had moved 
by noon, on the 10th, they would Imve preceded him at 
Barnhart's, nearly twenty hours, exposed to the enter- 
prise of the enemy from Cornwall ; but, by that time, 
the pressure of the enemy on our rear, forbade the move- 
ment. It will be remarked, from the morning orders of 
the 10th of November, that General Brown was to pro- 
ceed in advance, and, in case of necessity, was to co-ope- 
rate with General Boyd; but, from tl»e testimony of se- 
veral witnesses, as well as from the journal published in 
the President's message, of the 31st of January, ami 
which has been received as pnma facie evidence, by this 
ct)urt,it appears, that General Brown was engaged with 



446 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP the enemy~, about noon, at the very time he pressed our 
^^^- rear, which furnishe.s the strongest presumption, the at- 
tacks were preconcerted, and tliat the measures of the 
enemy were co-oper-ative. General Swartwoiit says the 
rear was fired on, in half an hour after they began their 
inarch, on the morning of the 10th. General Lewis tes- 
tified, that about 500 of the enemy shewed themselves,^ 
near noon on the lOtii, and it was reported by a captainij 
of dragoons, that there were more behind the wood. The| 
troops had been ordered to move, by General Lewis, who 
had taken the command, in consequence of my illness; 
and when I heard the firing of General Brown's cannon, 
I ordered the movement to be arrested. By the testi- 
mony of Colonel Walbach, thei'e was a skirmish with the 
enemy about noon "n the 10th, in which we had several 
killed and an officer wounded. The account which the 
quarter-master general gives^ of the affair of the 10th, is 
quite amusing. He says, the army marched and counter- 
marched all day, in pursuit of the enemy, but they could 
not be found ; nor could it be ascertained, whether there 
were 100 or 1000 of them. He will not allow, that there 
was any skirmishing, but only an affair of pickets, in 
the morning. Yet, General Swartwout allows, that the 
army could not have safely moved, in the latter part of 
the day. If the pressure of the enemy in the rear, did 
not sufficiently account for the delay on the 1 0th, the want 
of information from General Brown, I trust, will. It 
certainly, was not without good reason, that Genera! 
Brown had been sent forward, as has been, abundantly 
proved, and if the object of his detachment, was to clear 
the bank of the river of the enemy, surely it would have 
been imprudent to move, until it was ascertained, that 
this object had been effected ; and if General Brown ne- 
glected, to send me advice of his operations, seasonably, 
I am certainly not to be punished for his omission of 
duty. When the detention of General Bissell, is also 
taken into consideration, I cannot think the court will 
impute to me, as a crime, the delay on the 10th. I have 
never offered my ill health, as an excuse for any neglect 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 447 

of duty, because none has been proved against me. But chap. 
wlien the court recollects that during the 10th and 11th, ^'^' 
I lay on my bed helpless and in agony, I believe they 
will see in my conduct on those days, a constant effort, at 
least, to discharge my duty. 

Charge 1st. — Specification 7th. 

This is, perhaps, the most malicious and unmerited im- 
putation, embraced in the whole virulent assemblage, and 
might be answered in a few words, if deception on the 
part of the minister, may justify misfortune on that of 
the General. I am charged with «« detaching Brigadier- 
general Brown, with a large corps of the army in fi'ont, 
on or about the 10th of November, 1813, after it waa 
known the enemy were in my rear, and disposed to as- 
sail me, and in not first taking competent measures, to 
defeat and destroy the corps of the enemy, thus hanging 
on and disturbing my rear, or afterwards to form a junc- 
tion with the troops, thus detached as soon as the object 
of the detachment, was effected, but on the contrary ex- 
posing the service to imminent hazard, and to great actual 
injury, by unnecessarily engaging the enemy, with a por- 
tion of his army only, inferior to that of the hostile corps, 
which hung on and threatened his rear, at the time of the 
detachment of General Brown as aforesaid." To this 
string of fictions set forth by the honourable secretary, I 
might briefly express my astonishment, that he should 
seek to justify his own ignorance and misconduct, (not 
to use harslier terms) and attempt to cast on my shoul- 
ders, the load which he ought to carry on his own. The 
imputations with which he strives to saddle me, were the 
necessary consequences, of his own official misrepresen- 
tations to me, by which I, as well as the troops I com- 
manded, became encompassed with dangers and difficul- 
ties, from which we were extricated by the good con- 
duct of the men, and by the soundness of the very mea- 
sures, which he would now misrepresent and impute to 
me as crimes. Having by his reiterated assurances, de- 
ceived, misled, and placed me, in a situation of extreme 
peril, the whole grounds of the expedition, to the com^ 



4i48 MEMOIRS BV 

CHAP, mand of which he had allured me, were changed from 
^^^' offence to defence. Instead of the agreeable and un up- 
posed voyage, which he had induced me to expect, down 
the St. Lawrence; I suddenly and unexpectedly, found 
myself resisted in front and pressed in rear, by a res- 
pectable force of the enemy; and the measures, to which 
I was compelled to resort for self-defence, and the fulfil- 
ment of the fatal engagement with Hampton, into whici 
the secretary and Hampton's agent. Colonel King, ha^ 
cheated me, are distorted and alleged against me aij 
crimes. 

Let truth be tested by facts. « The ablest interpreters^ 
oJman*s conduct" and the world judge between us. The 
secretary in his letter of the 8th of August, while press- 
ing ihe attack of Montreal, recommends to me to ♦» pro-" 
ceed rapidly down the river, seize the northern bank op- 
posite the village of Hamilton, leave a corps to fortify, 
and to hold it, march upon Montreal with the main body, 
etFect there a junction wit!i Hampton, and take a position, 
to enable you to secure what you gain." On this plan, <♦ the 
navy," says he, « wotild perform its part, by occupying 
the mouth of the river, and preventing a pursuit by water, 
by clearing the river of the armed boats of the enemy, by 
holding with its own the passage of Hamilton, and giv- 
ing support to that position. If the enemy pursues, it 
must be by land, without subsistence, fexcept what he 
carries on his backj and without artillery." In his let- 
ter of the 19th of October, in opposition to the attack of 
Kingston, he says, « Montreal is the safer and greater ob*- 
ject, the weaker place, and that I shall find there the smal- 
ler force to encounter." In his letter of the £7th of Octo- 
ber, he says, ♦< the alarm of the enemy is general along the 
whole line, at every point of which he is weak. Three 
days ago, he called out a regiment of militia, which pro- 
duced 15 men, 14 of whom deserted, the first nigfit of their 
Sd'vice ; one of these men is now here." 

But what were the fruits of these assurances from the 
minister, in whom I placed such implicit confidence, that 
I surrendered my own judgment to him, entered into his 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 449 

views, and had foolishly staked my life and my repiita- ch\p. 
tion, on the execution of iiis wild projects. Did the navy ^'^* 
co-operate with me, and prevent a pursuit by water? JVoI 
— Did it clear the river of the armed boats of the enemy? 
JSTo/ — Did it hold the passage of Hamilton? J\''o/ — Were 
the enemy weak at every point? JVo/ — Were the militia 
of the enemy disaffected? JS^o! 

What then, permit me to enquire, were t!ie facts? The 
enemy in considerable force from Kingston pursued me 
to Prescott, the morning after 1 passed that post, with a 
naval equipment, consisting of armed vessels, a heavy 
galley, and several gun boats, under command of Captain 
MidcasleVf the most gallant and enterprising British naval 
officer on that station, and second to Sir James Yeo com- 
modore of Lake Ontario. The yeomanry of Upper Ca- 
nada were invisible, except when they appeared in arms 
against us, fo a man they were opposed to our invasion, and 
we were actually attacked by horse artillery, before we 
reached the village of Hamilton, where the secretary in 
his letter of the 8th of August, presupposed a post esta^ 
blished, and the navy at hand to support it. The army 
had not passed Prescott, when I received information, 
that the enemy were establishing a post at the narrows,* 
to oppose our passage; and I found it necessary, to de- 
tach Colonel Macomb, with the elite, to dislodge him ; ^ 
how this service was performed, and whether it was ne- 
cessary. General Macomb's deposition will best explain. 
Thus abandoned in my rear, and left to the pressure of 
the garrison of Kingston, which the secretary of war 
did not seem to think, our whole army could attack with 
advantage;^ and advised at the same time, by a confi- 
dential intelligencer, direct from Montreal, employed 
and paid by Colonel Swift of the engineers; that the 
enemy had the evening before, at Cornwall, 400 regU" 
lar troops, at the Coteau de Lac, an island opposite 
to it, and on the south shore 1000, and at the Cedars 
200 or 300, I called the council of war of the 8th 

* Fort Matilda. t See Appendix, No. XXXIV, 

VOL. IIL ^ L 



150 MEMOIRS BY 

c»AP. of November, and made the exposition therein exhi- 
^^^ • hitcd, my obligation to General Hampton, pressing oil 
my mind. 

If the movements of the elite, on the 17th, had been 
found necessary, surely, under information from a 
source deemed confidential, which I exposed to the coun- 
cil of war, and the demonstration to the whole army of 
the hostility of the country, a similar precaution, in 
greater strength, was judicious as we approached the 
main body of the enemy below; and, therefore, I added 
Brigadier-general Brown's brigade to the elite, under 
Colonel Macomb, and gave him the command on the 9th 
November. The movement of the army was this day so 
rapid, and the enemy was so cautious of committing 
himself, below the rapids of the narrows, before we 
had descended the river a considerable distance from 
thence, that he did not come up With our rear, until 
tlje morning of the 10th j at which time, I had received 
information, that he had strong detachments, posted at 
a block house, below me, on the bank of the river, and on 
an island in the Long Saut, for the purpose of galling, 
and crippling us, in our descent, of that extensive, diffi- 
cult, and dangerous rapid. 

It was in consequence of this advice, that I ordered 
Brigadier-general Brown to advance along the coast of 
the rivei', and Colonel Bissell to descend it, and clear the 
the island of the enemy; and to lighten the batteaux for 
safety in descending the Long Saut, Brigadier-general 
Boyd was ordered to land with all the well men of the 
other brigades, excepting a sufficient number to navigate 
the boats, with discretionary powers for his conduct, in 
guarding our movements. But, for the enemy's occupan- 
cy of the island, in the Long Saut, and for the circum- 
stance of getting a day a-head of the advance, under Bri- 
gadier-general Brown, whereby tlie flotilla with the in- 
valids, of the army might have fallen into tljc hands of 
the enemy, the boats could have put off, and reached Barn- 
hart's by noon on the lOth; in that case, however, Briga- 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 45i 

diergeneral Boyd, would have been left with two field criAP. 
pieces and his detachment, to sustain the attack of the ^'^' 
enemy's whole force in our rearj and although Generals 
Boyd and Brown, had been ordered to co-operate, in 
case of exigency, the simultaneous movements of the 
enemy might have rendered this impracticable. In the 
perplexity of my situation, incapable as 1 was of bodily 
exertion, I flatter myself the most judicious and effec- 
tual course was adopted, to secure a junction with Gene- 
ral Hampton at St. Regis, to which I stood pledged and 
«n which I relied, until I v/as undeceived by Colonel 
Atkinson at Barn hart's. 

With respect to the operations of the 10th and 11th of 
November, I feci justified in conscience, and 1 trust the 
testimony before this conrt, of General Lewis, of Gene- 
ral Macomb, of General Ripley, of Colonel Walbach, of 
Colonel Pinkney, of Major Lee, of Major Hite, and of 
Doctor Bull, will prove that the detachment of General 
Brown, was proper and necessary; that the force un- 
der General Boyd, which engaged the enemy at Chryst- 
Icr's field, was superior to him, that it did repulse him, and 
that with proper conduct, it was amply competent to have 
routed and destroyed him; that the re-junction of General 
Brown, after he had effected, the object for whicli he was 
detached, was not necessary, until it actually took place 
at Barnharfs; that the service, was not exposed to immi- 
nent hazard, and that it suffered no other injury, but 
what is incidental to military combats ; and it will ap- 
pear from the testimony of General Boyd's letter, before 
the court, and of Colonel Walbach, and Colonel Pink- 
ney, that 1 neither ordered, nor expected our troops to 
withdraw from the action. The council of war, held at 
Barnhart's, which is in evidence before the court, was 
produced, by General Armstrong's letter, of the 1st of 
iVovember, forbidding me to advance against General 
Prevost, before I had formed a junction with General 
Hampton, and the letter of this last officer, of the 8th 
of November, dccliiiing such a junction^ and from the 



453 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, evidence of Major Lee, it appears, tliat the secretary of 
^'^* war did not expect me to proceed against Montreal, 
without the previous junction of the division under Ge- 
neral Hampton. 

Charge 1st. — Specification Sth. 

This allegation is founded, on the defect of the execn- 
tion, not the merits of the design. Alas! by what a pre- 
carious tenure, do military men hold their hard-earned 
repute, and well-deservcd commendations. The renown 
of a soldier*, Jiangs by a hair and is braced by a cobweb, 
Avhich may be dissevered and blown away, by the slight- 
est breeze of adversity — a fever, a frost, a hurricane, or 
snow storm, may wither the laurels of a veteran, and ob- 
literate the services of lialf a century. Enterprises with- 
out object succeed, while the best concerted plans may 
fail; desperation may carry off the palm from tnte vnlouvf 
and ignorance and accident receive the rewards of skill 
and good conduct ; yet, if to fail in military enterprizes 
be criminal, we can iiai-dly find a distinguished chief, 
from the times of Cyrus and Xenophon to the fall of 
Buonaparte, who has not merited censure. If the attack 
on the post of La Cole, had proved successful, I should 
have been eulogised ; as it failed, I merited disgrace, and 
my accuser, most willingly, threw all his weight into the 
scale against me; by charging me "with failing to adopt 
such measures, as were proper and practicable, on or 
about the SOth of March, 1814, to reduce the British 
post at La Cole Mill, in the province of Lower Canada, 
and to capture the gairison thereof, especially in remain- 
ing inactive four hours and upwards, before the said 
post, with an effective and a well-disciplined force under 
his command, far superior in number to the enemy, and 
fully adequate to the reduction of said place; in omit- 
ting to demand the surrender thereof, and attempt to carry 
the same by storm; and finally withdrawing his troops, 
in a hasty and disgraceful njanner, under cover of the 
night, from before the said post, defended by a small 
body of the enemy 5 thereby deeply wounding the feel- 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 453 

ings of the subordinate officers, destroying the martial chaP; 
spirit of the soldiers, and exposing the army to raortifi- ^'^ 
cation and disgrace.'* 

Until it shall become a practice, with military men to 
admit their antagonists, to examine the interior of their 
camps and posts, every tjfFensive operation must depend, 
more or less, on intelligence, and, therefore, the ablest 
commanders after the closest inspection, the nature of the 
grouMil, and the vigilance of the enemy may permit him 
to make, is liable to be deceived. In the case now under 
inquiry, it is in proof before tlie court, that my arrange- 
ments for the attack of La Cole Mill, were founded on 
the information ana o})inions, of that respectable and in- 
telligent engineer. Lieutenant-colonel Totten, who has 
declared on oatii, that he gave me the opinion, in which 
he was seconded by the adjutant-general Colonel Cum- 
mings, that a 12 pounder would be sufficient, to batter 
La Cole Mill; that he founded this opinion, on informa- 
tien received from people of the neighbourhood, who had 
been in the habit of going to this mill, and from such in- 
formation, he was induced to believe it could be carried, 
by a 12 pounder; that he heard Colonel Clark (of 26th 
infantry) say, he could knock down the mill, with a six 
pounder; that the ground was reconnoitred, by Colonel 
M^Phersou and himself, and that they selected the spot 
for the battery, on which it was placed, which was the 
best situation to be found; that from information since 
received, he thinks an eighteen pounder could not have 
made a breacli in the mill, and that after the battery was 
opened, he expected a breach would have been made. 

Here I might safely rest my justification, as to the 
means employed to reduce this building, because in the 
attack of works, as in their erection, the judgment of an 
able engineer, justifies the consent of the general. But 
Colonel M<Pherson, who commanded the battery, also 
swears, in answer to the I6th interrogatory, that he 
thought a twelve pounder heavy enough to effect a 
breach, ami also that he wished tJie cannonade conti- 



454 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, nued, if tlie> object could be effected, and tbat he made 
^^^' no report after the cannonade commenced. 

No testimony has been brought to shew, that I omit- 
ted any «' practicable means" to reduce the enemy's 
work ; but although a twelve pounder was deemed, by the 
best judges, to be of sufficient weight to effect it, it will 
be seen, that I took the precaution to equip an eighteen 
pounder for the operation, and that I ordered it to be 
brought forward, but that it had broken down on the 
road, and that from the nature of the approach to La 
Cole Mill, it was found impracticable to get up a se- 
cond twelve pounder, to the battery before night fall, al- 
though Major Pitts, the commanding officer of artillery, 
had been pressed on that subject; it of course became 
necessary, to remand the eighteen pounder, soon after 
"which it again broke down. For these facts, I beg leave 
to refer the court, to the testimony of Majors Lush, 
Nourse and Brooks. 

It will be remarked, I was not inattentive to the effect, 
of the fire of our battery on the house, for independent of 
my own personal observation, and inquiries, wliich, I 
confess, deceived me, I sent twice to Captain M*Pher- 
son, by Majors Lush and Nourse, to enquire into his 
prospects, and his reply was, in both instances, favorable. 
So soon as I discovered, the battery could make no im- 
pression, 1 ordered the guns to be brought off. Captain 
Mcpherson swears, lie was an hour and an half, only, on 
the ground, and two or three shot, only, were fired after 
he fell. Colonel Clark, a witness for the prosecution, 
■who had been witliin La Cole Mill, describes it to be 
sixty feet long and forty feet wide, two stories above 
ground, and one story beneath ; that it was pierced with 
loop holes, strengthened within with timber, and had one 
door only open, and that in the east end, which is towards 
the river. The court arc competent to decide, on the 
practicability of carrying sucli a building by the bayonet, 
fortified as this was, and defended by a garrison of six 
hundred veteran troops. It is for my accuser, who is 
able to instruct « young generals," and « teach the wily 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 455 

African deceit," to give the example of such an exploit, chap. 
or to inform his contemporaries, by whom such example ^_,_i^ 
has been given. Xenophon himself, was baffled in an 
attempt, against a castle, in the plain of Caycus, and 
also in his attack of the metropolis of the BRYLANS, 
and in times modern, as well as ancient, we have abun- 
dant examples, of the failure of military enterprises, by 
the most distinguished chiefs.* 

I will call the attention of the court to two only, which 
occurred in our revolutionary war, and may be consider- 
ed in point. The unsuccessful attack of Chew's House, 
on the morning of the 4.th of October, 1777, made by Ge- 
neral Washington, with the main body of his army, which 
was repulsed after several assaults, by Colonel Mus- 
grave, and six companies of the 40th British regiment. 
In this instance, a Captain Smith of the Virginia line, 
was sent by the commander in chief, to demand the sur- 
render of the house, and fell with the flag waving in his 
hand; here too, artillery was tried in vain, although em- 
ployed against a stone house of, only, oi'dinary structure. — 
The other case, is the attack of the block house, near 
King's ferry on the North river, by General Wayne, in 
the year 1780 ; the disparity of force in this case, was 
exti'cme; the house was formed of hewn logs, and de- 
fended by sixty or seventy refugees; the attack was made 
by two of the best brigades in the army, Wayne's and Ir- 
vine's, with a train of field artillery; yet, after several 
desperate assaults, in which half as many men were lost 
as fell at La Cole, the intrepid general was obliged to 
retire. But was shame and disgrace attached to these 
casualties? Certainly not. — General Wasldngton and his 
army received the thanks of Congress, for the affair of 
Germantown, although beaten and retreating in disor- 
der; and General Wayne suffered no censure, for the 
failure of his attack; but in my case, the standing of the 
secretary depended on my depression, and with him the 
end consummates the means. 

* General Greene at Eulaw, Lord Wellington at Burgos, BonS' 
' parte at St, Jeau d'Acre, General Graham at Antwerp. 



4)66 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. No testimony has been produced to shew, that the 
^^^' troops before La Cole, were inactive or uselessly ex- 
posed. The witnesses for the prosecution, with those 
for the defence, all concur in a different sentiment, ex- 
cept General Macomb, who is of " opinion the artillei'y 
tvere unnecessarily exposed, as a few felled trees, or a 
breast tvork, of fascines or logs, would have saved the 
men at the pieces,'* He also takes an indirect exception 
to the imposition of the battery;" but this is mere conjec- 
ture and opinion, as the General commanded the reserve, 
and was never up at the battery. Indeed he did not visit 
the front line, until I was about to order the troops to 
retire. He admits, that <« the land fell back from where 
the guns stood, and it was difficnlt to select another 
position for them further off, and that the woods were so 
thick, lie could scarcely see the mill." It is also in testi- 
mony before the court, by that most respectable officer 
Colonel Totten, who of all others knew most of the 
ground about La Cole, that " the troops were formed in 
a wood of small growth," and Colonel M«Pherson swears 
the <« brigades of General Smith and Bissell flanked his 
battery ;" of course, the battery itself, was covered by 
the wood, and small growth, through the tops of which 
the body of the mill could be descried, plainly enough 
for the direction of a cannon. It is a fact, that the men 
at the guns, were not more directly exposed, than those 
of the line; but whenever the cannon made an exjdosion, 
the sharp shooters of the enemy, directed their fire by 
the smoke, and hence the extraordinary loss at the guns. 
There were no trees or logs at hand for forming a breast 
work, to cover the artillery, and it would have taken 
more time, than could have been spared, to form a fas- 
cine battei'y, in snow fifteen or eighteen inches deep, and 
on the frozen earth. No such idea was suggested to me, 
either by the engineer or officer commanding the bat- 
tery. General Macomb, also makes another great mis- 
take, when he says « it was understood, at the council 
of war, held on the 10th of March, that the artillery was 
^0 be secured, and covered from the mitsqtietry of the ene- 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 457 

«i2/.'* The minutes of the council of war, which are before ch.\p. 
the cr)urt, settles this point, and proves the General's er- 
ror, for no such stipulation is recorded; and if the idea 
had been suggested, it could not have escaped Colonel 
Totten, who was in the council, and whose particular di.-ty 
it w^as to have seen it carried into eflR^ct; nor is \t natural, 
or probabkf that such a proposition*^ should have been 
made, at the time, when the council had no knowledge, 
of the circunyacent localities of tlie mill and could not 
even know, whetlier it might be found necessary, to 
open a battery against it or not. Under the lapse of 
time, and the busy active pcenes, in wliich General Ma- 
comb has been engaged, the failure of recollection, can- 
not be a matter of surprise, much less of censure. Ge- 
neral Macomb, is perfectly correct, in the " opinion, tliat 
the road from Odletown to the mill, might have been re- 
connoitred, had a sufficient force been sent to drive in the 
eneviy/^ because this is, precisely, what happened; but, 
he says, that when within 140 yards of the mill, the woods 
were so thick, he could hardly see it. Correct these tri- 
vial errors, which attacii no fault to General Macomb, 
wiiosc candour and honour are above suspicion, and he 
concurs with every other witness who has been examin- 
ed, to prove that it would have been unwise, useless or 
impracticable, to have made the attemj)t to demand the 
surrender of the post, or to carry Jt by storm — that the 
troops were drawn oif in day ligiit, deliberately, and in 
high order — that the feelings of my subordinate officers 
were not wounded, nor the martial spirit of the soldiers 
destroyed — nor the army exposed to mortification and dis- 
grace; — Indeed all who speak to this last point, mark the 
confidence, and self-complacency of the men and officers, 
after that affair, and bear testimony to their self-confi- 
dence, and desire to meet the enemy. It is very possi- 
ble, a different spirit may have been engendered, after I 
had retired from the troops, and the spies, partisans, and 
agents of my accuser, had commenced their intrigues. 

* Tlip thing; v/as ne^t to imposaible 

VOL. IIT S M 



458 MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP. 
XV. 



CHAPTER XV. 

Remarks on Charge second^ and the Jlrst and second spcci- 
Jications of Charge third, and the evidence applicable 
thereto. 

Charge 2(1. — Brnnkcnncss on diiiij. 
The scuri-ilous libel on my cliaractei", published by a 

f DISAFFECTED CITIZEN OF OgUBNSBURGH, WHOSE TRAI- 
TOROUS MACHINATIONS I HAD EXPOSED, liaS beeil (It'CSS- 

ed up with judicial solemnity, and spun out in four diffe- 
rent specifications. I might spare any remarks, on a 
charge, against the truth of ivhich, every rvitness for the 
prosecution bears testimony; but as the malice of my accu- 
ser, has afforded me an opportunity, of proving the habits 
of my life, and my detestation of this beastly vice; I shall 
bi'iefly notice the substance of the testimony, which has 
been given on this point. Colonel Walbach testified, 
that he commenced his career of military service, umler 
me in the year 1801, and was in my family four years, 
as an aid-de-camp, and was again about my person, as 
adjutant-general, in the campaign of 1813. He testified, 
that I \vas always particularly atteiitive, to the habits, 
manners, dress, health, police, and discipline of the 
ti'oops, and that I particidarly detested drunkenness. Co- 
lonel Nicholl, late inspector-general, testified, that he had 
been acquainttd xvith me, eight years, that he was with me 
in New Orleans, and frequently attended entertainments 
with me, at that place, at Washington, and Carlisle, 
that he never saw me, in the least intoxicated, but had 
frequently known me, discourage intoxication in others. 
Doctor Bull testifies, that he has known me from early 
youth, has lived in the same family, and always been inti- 
mately acquainted with me, that my habits are social, and 
convivial, but by no means intemperate, that I always en- 



GENERAL WILKINSON. *59 

joined strict sobriety, on the members of my family , during chap. 
the campaign of ±815. Brigatlier-gcneral Bissoll testified, '^' 
that lie has sci-ved with me twenty yeurSfin a military 
capacity, that 1 was always attentive to the police, man- 
nci's, habits, appearance, health, and cojiifort of the sol- 
diei'v, and always discouraged drunkenness, Brj^^adier- 
gencral Porter testified, that he has been acquainted "ivith 
mc since the year 1793. His testimojiy was the same as 
that of General Bissell, he also said, that I had repeated- 
ly issued general orders, to discourage intoxication. Co- 
lonel Kingsbury testified, that he had known me as an 
officer, for twcntv-three years, he testified, that I was al- 
ways attentive to the police, and manners, habits, health, 
and comfort of the troo[>s, and that I ahvayf, discouraged 
drunkenness, and debauchery, as my general orders woidd 
shew. Colonel Schuyler testified, that he had known 
me, in a military capacity, between 17 and 18 'years, and 
gave the same testimony, as Cdlonel Kingsbury, did, of 
my attention to the welfare of the troops, and my discou- 
raging drunkenness and debauchery. Major-general Ma- 
comb says, he has served with me, since the disbandment 
of the army, under General Hamilton, in the various ca- 
pacities of aid-de-camp, secretary, lieutenant, captain, 
major, lieutenant-colonel, colonel, and brigadier, and he 
has always observed in me great anxiety to promote the 
discipline, police, habits, manners, and other essentials 
to the military character, to correct all petty vices, and 
an abhorrence of drunkenness and debauchery. 

It is unnecessary to comment on the testimony on this 
point. I trust the records of this court, will silence the foul 
tongue of calumny, which has charged me with a vice 

MY SOUL DETESTS, AND WHICH I HAVE ALWAYS EXERT- 
ED MY AUTIIOIIITY TO ERADICATE FROM THE ARMY^ 

and whoever shall examine those records, w ill fnd that every 
witness (examined to the point) for and against the prosecu- 
tion, has borne testimony to my sobriety before, during, and 
after my passage of Prescott. 

Charge 3d. — Specifcation 1st and 2d. 

The third charge, is lor "conduct unbecoming an offi- 



460 Mt'.MOIRS BY 

Cfr AP. cer and a gentleman." To the first specification, /o?md- 
■ ed in utter falsehood, and unsupported by a shadow of 
proof I have nothing to say. The second specification is 
"for speaking very disrespectfully, and improperly, of 
the army and of the service, in which I was cmph>yed, on 
or about the 7th November, 1813, in the vicinity of Og- 
densbnrgh, by damning the army, the expedition, and 
myself." This is oiie of the accusations which my per- 
secutor prefers against me, on the authority of « letters, 
rcceixted at the icar department.''^ The world woidd sup- 
pose, from a perusal of the charge, that at the head of 
the troops, or at least in public company, I had most 
outrageously, and indecorously abused the anny under 
my command. It would scarcely have been believed, by 
a man oflwnour, that this charge could have been found- 
ed, on the disclosure of a private and loose conversation; 
much less would a man ofhonouri hare descended to so vile 
a resort, to gratify his personal views, for in this case the 
public good could have had no hifluencc. But the ready 
7'oad to promotion f was through the jmssions and interests 
of the secretary, and who he could soothe the one and 
gratify the other, was sure of success. Colonel King 
was a ]SIajor, and several new- corps were to be establish- 
ed. He made the communication to the secretary, which 
was greedily swallowed and duly rewarded. If I really 
did utter the language imputed to me, which I cannot 
admit, I should plead in extenuation, the abuse lavished 
by the Colonel, on the division of the army to which he 
belonged. U is not because tlie expressions, attributed to 
me by Colonel King, would convict mc of any mili- 
tary crime, that J should take the trouble to prove I 
never uttered them ; my only object i.s, to shew with what 
vindictive malice, J have been pursued by my enmiies. I 
•wish to expose the system of espionage, which has been in- 
troduced into our army, and which, if encouraged, wilt in- 
fect the whole corps 7vith jealousies, and dissolve the bonds of 
friendship, honour, and patriotism. The object of Colonel 
King's visit to me, appears to have been, to deceive and 
beguile me, by false representations respecting the dis^- 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 4^64 

position of General Hampton, and the state of his army, chap. 
whirli he must have understood, because of his official ^^' 
station as adjutant-general, and his confidential standing 
with the General. In this respect, his mission to me 
was perfectly successful, hit for the fatal assurances of 
the co-operation of General Hampton, and my consequent en- 
gagement to meet him, I should have tamed about, on our 
arrival at the White Hoiise, and beat the enemy who had 
so unexpectedly eluded Commodore Channcey, carried the 
post of Prcscott, and marched against Kingston, But 
the secretary of war, had assured me of the cordial 
co-operation, of General Hampton, until the end of the 
campaign; at this ill-fated moment. Colonel King made 
his appearance, <« he made the worse appear the better 
reason, to perplex and darken maturest counsels." My 
experience of General Hampton's insubordination, ouglut, 
I confess, to have put me on my guard, but anxiety for 
the pi'omotion of the public service, led me to believe 
what I anxiously desired. It now appears, that Colonel 
King was not content, to blast my hopes, but sought to 
destroy my reputation, as a gentleman and an officer- 
most fortunately for me, the prisdence of Colonel King, 
was not equal to his malice. The violence of his pas- 
sions, threw him off his guard, and in his ^eal to convict me 
of conduct, imbecoming a gentleman, he has proved himself 
to be unworthy of credit. Mr. King stands discredited ou 

"■ the records of this court, by the testimony of other witnesses; 

• and T shall shew from his conduct towards me, that it is im- 
possible, any thing he says of me, should be entitled to belief. 
On the first day of his examination, tlie Colonel testified, 
that lie went with General Lewis down the river, anl met 
me returning in my barge, from reconnoitring Prescottj 
that after landing and remaining a few minutes on shore, 
he went with me on board my schooner, when he says I 
spoke in such a manner, as to induce liim to suppose, / 
was dissatisfed with my situation, and with the state of 
the army I commanded, lie says, I spoke of a council 

OF WAR, WHICH HAD BEEN HELD THAT DA.Y, to which I 

had submitted the state of ray ammunition^ and provi- 



463 MEMOIRS BY 

criAP. sions, and tliat the council had determined, the armV 

^^ SHOULD PASS PreSCOTT, THAT NIGHT. That I spokc ill 

such a manner^ as to induce him to think, I was dissa- 
tisjied with the decision. That I damned the army, and 
wished 1 had been in hell, before I ever saw it. The Co- 
lonel added, he considered the conversation unimport- 
ant, and it made no great impression on his mind, and 
of course he conid not be so particular, as he otherwise 
mig-ht. After his memory, was a little refreshed, by a 
question put by General Lewis, the Colonel recollected, 
that when I damned the army, I made an exception, in fa- 
vour of the division from Fort George, and consequently, 
my curses fell exclusively, on the heads of the troops 
from Sackett's Harbour. The witness swore, that he con- 
tinued on board my vessel, an hour or an hour and an half, 
that it was after dinner, about S or 4 o'clock. He says, 
other gentlemen were near enough to hear the conversation, 
and that my conduct was not in the least violent or outrage- 
ous. Every part of this narrative, carries falsehood and 
absurdity on its front, and without recurring to the testi- 
mony of General Lewis, and the other gentlemen who 
were on board of my vessel, might be shewn to be iinwor- 
thy of belief. This court cannot suppose, that without any 
conceivable motive, I could have uttered the ridiculous 
string of falsehoods, which Colonel King ascribed to me ; 
that I should have spoken to him, of the proceedings of a 
council of war, which never was held, or should have com- 
plained of being forced into a movement, which I had or- 
dered the same day, before I saw him, without consulting 
any person. If this part of his testimony is stamped with 
falsehood, the manner, in which he limited my execra-^ 
tions of the army, is perfectly absurd. Jiccording to the 
Colonel, I damned the army, but in the same breath, prais- 
ed the division from Fort George. No reason is assigned, 
why my curses fell, exclusively, on the rest of the army. 
There is not a particle of evidence, to prove any misconduct, 
in General Lewis's division; I therefore must have damn- 
ed them, in mere wantonness, yet my conduct, was not in 
the least violent or outrageous, says the Colonel. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 463 

Such a clumsy, inconsistent story, can never be en- chap. 



titled to belief; and still less so, when the witness de- 
clares, he considered the conversation unimportant, that it 
made no great impression on his mind, and of course he 
cannot be so particular, as he otherwise might. Light 
and unimportant, however, as the conversation appear- 
ed, and faint as his recollection of the particulars of it 
was, he confesses that the information, on whicli the 
charge was founded, was given by him to my accuser; 
and the court have seen him, traversing the continent to 
support the accusation by his oath. The story of Colonel 
King is destitute of prohahility in itself, and the testimony 
of the other witnesses, will show it to be utterly false. I 
will first call the attention of the court, to the testimony 
of several gentlemen, who were on board my vessel when 
Colonel King came there. Colonel Nicholas testifies, 
that he saw Colonel King, when he came on board; that 
he conversed with me a very short time, merely to pass 
a salute, and stepped to the other side of tlie vessel, to 
converse with some of his acquaintance; that at the time, 
I was writing, or dictating a letter. Major Nourse testi- 
fies, that Colonel King came on board my vessel, and 
received a letter which I had prepared for General Hamp- 
ton; that he remained on board a very few minutes, and 
the only conversation he heard, was my wishing the Colo- 
nel a good ride ; Major Nourse added, on his cross-exa- 
mination, that it was between 2 and 3 o'clock, when Co- 
lonel King came oji board, and he does not think he re- 
mained above ten minutes in the vessel. Major Lee tes- 
tifies, that he was on deck, during the time Colonel King 
was on board ; he says there appeared to he no interesting 
conversation between the Colonel and myself. The testi- 
mony of these gentlemen, it is agreed, is only negative; 
but when the court recollects, that they were all attached to 
ray family, and partook of my confidence, tliat they were 
on the deck, during the whole time of Colonel King's 
stay, and that from the testimony of Colonel King him- 
self, they were near enough to have heard a conversation 
between us, particularly of the kind whicii the Colonel as- 



XV. 



464^ MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, cribes to me, and as such language is usually delivered with 
^^' emphasis, it is hardly credibkf that Colonel King could hare 
conversed with lue, above an hour, and no gentleman have 
heard a word of the conversation^ except my wishing him 
a good ride. It appears from the testimony of Doctor 
Bull and Major Nourse, that the information whi( h Co- 
lonel Kin,s: gave me, in the conversation on the log, in 
presence of General Lewis, had put me in good spirits^ 
those gentlemen testify, that immediately on leaving Co- 
lonel King, I told them his information had much re- 
lieved me, as I was assured by him, of General flamp- 
ton's co-operation. Every witness who saw me that day 
declares, that 1 expressed no dissatisfaction, at the state 
or c;-;iduct of the troops. Doctor Bull and Colonel Ni- 
cholas say, I was uncommonly cheerful; and General 
Lewis testifies, tliat I appeared in better spirits than 
usual, which he thouglit I had assumed, to inspire confi- 
dence in the important movement, we were about to make. 
Al! this testimony is utterly irreconcileable, with the dis- 
satisfaction which Colonel King says, I discovered with 
my own situation, the slate of the army, and the con- 
duct of the officers; the testimony of General Lewis puts 
it beyond a doubt, that Cohmel King's imj)rcssioiiS of 
the conversations, must have been J'aint indeed, or that he 
has wilfully and deliberately sworn to a falsehood. Gene- 
ral Lewis gives an account, of the visit of Colonel King 
and of his interview with me, whith I shall introduce in 
the words of the witness. " I understood (says General 
Lewis) Colonel King had arrived, and was on board Ge- 
neral Wilkinson's vessel ; 1 went to see him, told him 
General Wilkinson had gone down the river, to recon- 
noitre Prescott, and took him in my gig, to introduce 
him to the General. As we were going down, he asked 
me, whether the old gentleman would be found in good hu- 
mour ; for, says he, if he bounces, I shall. I told him 
he might find the General, a little jietulant from indispo- 
sition, but that he must give way to him; he said, cer- 
tainly he should. We met the General returning ; Co- 
lonel King asked him, if he had any communications for 



GENERAL WILIQNSON. 465 

General Hampton, that he was anxious to return. Ge- chap. 
iieral Wilkinson then proposed, that we should land for ^ ' 
the convenience of conversation, which \vc didj we tlien 
retired a little distance from the boat and sat down on a 
log. General Wilkinson then asked him, if the report 
we Jiad M^as true, that General Hampton's army Iiad been 
defeated by a party of 300 men ; he said, he could not 
speak with precision, of the number opposed to us, but 
that we certainly had to contend against a very inferior, 
force, and onr troops behaved in the most rascally viannen 
General Wilkinson then exclaimed, Damn such an army, 
a man might as tvell be in hell, as to command it. He then 
observed. Bid what is to be expected from men, ivho as 
soon as they are inlisted, are marched to the field rvithout 
having acquired thefrst rudiments of their profession; how- 
ever, said he, my men will behave better, at least, 
lean answer for those who came from Fort George! I re- 
ceived this, as an implied reflection upon the troops from 
the Harbour, and therefore observed, the troops from tlie 
Harbour will not be behind hand; he then replied, that 
with respect to those, he was not so well acquainted, but 
for them, you and Brown must answer. This was the 
substance of what passed, and I believe pretty near the 
words." 

I have recited General Lewis's testimony at length, 
that the court and the world may see, how much more 
probable his relation is, than the story told by Colonel King. 
The Colonel admitted on his cross-examination, that he 
made the observations, which General Lewis ascribes to 
him, respecting General Hampton's army, but declared 
the conversation took place in my vessel. Finding, how- 
ever, that General Lewis had a distinct recollection of 
the conversation, the Colonel, on the second day of his 
examination, endeavoured to patch up his absurd story, 
by swearing that a similar conversation, took place both 
on shore, in the presence of General Lewis, and in my 
* vessel, when the General was not present. Is it not too 
1 gross a supposition to make, even for the purpose of sup- 
porting the tottering credit of a witness, that within the 
VOL. in. 3 N 



406 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, course of two hours, the same dialogue should have been 
^^ repeated? Colonel King found he had gone too far to 
retrace his steps ; the charge of abusing the arniy, rest- 
ed on his shoulders ; he \Vas pledged, therefore, to con- 
vict me of it; though until General Lewis refreshed his 
memory, at the close of his first day^s examination, he 
had entirely forgotten the conversation on shore. Not 
choosing to contradict General Lewis outright, lie ad- 
mits that a conversation, such as General Lewis states, 
took place on the log. The Colonel had been driven into 
narrow bounds, but sooner than be penned up, he leaps 
the fence, and swears that a conversation on the same 
subject, had occurred on board of General Wilkinson's 
schooner. Colonel King has, however, placed himself in 
the unpleasant situation, of having his testimony put into 
the scale against that of General Lewis^ when the conver- 
sation on shore, was brought to his recollection, he per- 
sisted in saying, that in that conversation, I expressed 
myself concerning my situation, and that of the army, in 
a shnilar manner, to that related by him, as having taken 
place on board my schooner; — in other words, that I 
damned the army and myself, (excepting the troops from 
Fort George) both on shore and in the vessel. But if any 
credit could be given to testimony, in wliich so many absur- 
dities and falsehoods are apparent, and which is so point- 
edly contradicted, by the testimony of other witnesses, it 
must be destroyed by the deadly hostility and malice, which 
he has manifested against me. The court will remember, 
that this witness, voluntarily, answered some ques- 
tions, which do not appear on record; but as he answer- 
ed them on oath, I am entitled to make use of them, al- 
though not deemed relevant to the issue, for the purpose 
of impeaching his credit. He was asked, « whether he 
had ever spoken disrespectfully , and contemptuously, of 
General Wilkinson ?'^ which he answered in the affirma- 
tive. On being asked, «« whether he had not communi- 
cated, to the late secretary of war, the conversation held 
with General fFUkinson, on board the boat ; and if sOf - 
whether he could say when, and for what purpose?*' he 



GENERAL WUxKINSON. 467 

admitted lie Iiad made «« the communication, about the 2Mh chap. 
of JVovemherf 1813, in Albany; but said, he should de- ^^' 
dine answering, what his motives were." He also de- 
clined answering, « whether there was not, in the conversa- 
tion, on board of General Wilkinson^s boat, an implied confi. 
dence, which in the ordinary intercourse of life, puts a seal 
on the lips of gentlemen?^' — Biting his lips with rage, he 
said, << Such q,uestions did not deserve an answer." 
The last question put to him, was as follows : " Have you 
not at another time, when a candidate for a commis- - 

sioN, said to a senator of the United States, that you were 
extremely distressed, at being informed. General Wilkinson 
was offended with you; that any military ii for motion you 
possessed, emanated from him ; that there was no officer in 
the army, for whom you had so high a respect, or who you 
thoughts was so capable of commanding the troops ?" — Al- 
though the court, did not oblige the judge advocate, to 
record the witness's answer to this interrogatory, it was 
too remarkable, to escape the recollection of those mem- 
bers of the court, who heard it: he positively denied making 
the observations, and said, he « must have been craay, had 
he made them." I have satisfactory evidence to offer to 
the court, that he did make them, as will be seen by re- 
ference to General Smith's afiidavit.* 

* Interrogatories proposed to the honourable Samuel Smith, sena- 
top of the United Stales, and his answers thereto. 

1st Interrogatory. — Did Colonel William King^, of the 3d rifle reg'i- 
ment, hold a conversation with yon, in the month of March or April 
}814, respecting Major-general Wilkinson; expressing his sorrow at 
understanding, the said Major-general Wilkinson, was offended with 
him : if so, will you be pleased to state particulars ? 

Ans-wer. — Colonel King of the rifle corps, then a Lieutenant-colonel 
in the army of the United States, visited me during the session of 
3813-14, and observed, that he understood, that General James Wil- 
kinson was offended with him; that he regretted it very much, for 
that there was no officer in the army, for whom he had a greater re- 
spect, or who he thought more capable of commanding the army; 
that he presumed, that General Wilkinson's anger against him, arose 
from his having misled him, as to the strength of General Hampton's 
army ; that he had no improper motive, for that when he left that 
army, he had believed it to have been 4,000 strong, and that he could 
not but suppose, that general, with such a force, would cheerfully 



468 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. No wonder that, on his examination, he was willing to 



XV. 



deny such gross hypocrisy, even at the expense of truth. 
The explanation which he attempted to give General 
Smith, of the deceit which he practised against me, was 
so shallow and void of plausibility, that I am astonished, 
it should have escaped the discernment of General Smith. 
For Colonel King undoubtedly succeeded, in convincing 
that gentleman he was my friend. Tlie relation. Colo- 
nel King held with General Hampton, forbids the suppo- 
sition, that he was unacquainted with his views, or igno 
rant of the state of his army. From his own story, he was 
the coujidential friend of Gen. Hampton, and the go-betxveen 
of that general and the late secretarij of war. It was through 
Colonel King, that General Hampton received the com- 
mendation, of « well done good and faithful servant," /or 
disobeying my orders, and it was to Cohmel King, that 
the secretary first uttered his denunciation against me. 
Still less could Colonel King, be ignorant of the state of Ge- 
neral Hampton''s army, and, also, of the Generals deter- 
mination, not to join me. This is manifest from Gene- 
ral Hampton's letter;, of the 1st of November, to Gene- 

have joined General Wilkinson; but that on his return to General 
Hampton, he found the army greatly reduced, and from sickness be- 
coming' weaker daily. 

2d Interrogatory. — Did the said Colonel King, desire you, express- 
ly, to communicate the aforesaid to Major-general Wilkinson. 

Ansvier. — On my asking Colonel King, whether it was his wish, 
that I should communicate what he had said, respecting General Wil- 
kinson ; he answered, that it was, and that he would be much obliged 
to me, if I would take that trouble. Being called home to see one 
of my daughters, then very ill, my promise was forgotten for some 
time. I however wrote a letter dated 3d April, 1814, to Genex*al Wil- 
kinson; which letter is now before me, making the communication 
requested. My object was to conciliate to each other, two gentle- 
men, for each of whom, I had a regard. 

3d Interrogatory. — Has the said Colonel King, at any time since, 
held similar language to you ; .ind if so, will you say when? 

.Answer. — Colonel King visited nie, during" the present session of 
Congress, and spoke of General Wilkinson in terms of respect. 

(Signed) S. SMITH. 

§woi-n, at Washington City, Feb. 27(h, 1815, before 

JAMES H. BLAKE, Mayor: 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 469 

ral Armstrong, of which Colonel King was the bearer.* chap. 
Is it conceivable, that General Hampton's corps had been ^^' 
so greatly reduced, in the short period of five or six days, 
that the adjutant-general could scarcely know it for the 
same army, as he attempted to persuade General Smith? 
It may be asked, how all the deceit and treachery, which 
this man has practised towards me, is to be accounted for ? 
What object could he have, in endeavouring to persuade Ge- 
neral Smith, that he was my friend and admirer? I an- 
swer — that he was attempting my ruin, for reasons which 
I am still to learn, and as a mean to effect his pjirpose, he 
found it necessary to cheat those^ whom he considered my 
friends. His particular object at Washington, in the ses- 
sion of 1813-14, was to obtain a Colonelcy, and having ob- 
tained the necessary rank, he was to officiate as a member 
of a court martial, to try me on a charge, founded on his 
own information, thus concentring in his own person, the 
triple duties of informer, witness, and judge. The 
plan was certainly well laidf and worthy the late secretary 
of war. 

It would have been a rare administration of justice, 
and a summary mode, of disposing of an old general, to 
have tried me before a court, where Colonel King was to 
furnish the proof and give the verdict. 

Charge 3d. — Specification Sd. 

On the 3d specification, I have very few remarks to 
make. The letter on which the accusation is founded^ 
was the hasty effusion, of my heart, produced by the in- 
formation I had just received, of the death of a gallant offi- 
cer, under circumstances which induced me to believe, he 
had inconsiderately exposed his life. It was written to 
a gentleman, with whom I had been on terms of intima- 
cy, from early youth. Though a hasty production, I 
would not, on the maturest reflection, desire to alter a sen- 
timent which it contains. I liave no intention of entering 
into a defence of the military maxims, which it inculcates. 
The court must judge of their correctness, and I am will- 
ing to be judged, by the severest rules of military critl- 

* See Appendix, No. LXIX. 



470 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. cism. If wonder is excited, that the letter in question, 
^^- should be made the ground of a criminal charge, the cir- 
cmnstances under which the charge was made, must ex- 
cite still more astonishment. General Lewis has testi- 
fied, that the late secretary of war, acknowledged that the 
letter was inclosed to him unsealed. The secretary 
AND Mr. Parker his clerk both perused it, and it 
was then forwarded to General Lewis, under the seal of 
the war office.* All this was done, previous to my arri- 
val at Washington, and before I was appointed to the com- 
mand of the district. 

If I had committed a crime, in writing the letter, 
my accuser became an accessary to it; why was the 
letter inclosed to the secretary unsealed ? certainly, that 
he might peruse it, and forward it if he approved 
of the sentiments, or suppress it if he thought them ira- 
pr.>per. But still greater was the offence of the secre- 
tary, in intrusting a high and responsible command to a 
man, who had (to use the language of the charge) been 
guilty of an act " which struck at the very foundation of 
military character and service, and which was calculated, 
to bring shame and dishonour, upon the American arms.'* 
Surely the passions of my accuser, had obscured his un- 
derstanding, when he penned this charge against me» 
His malevolence had taken the reins of his judgment, 
and HE stands self-convicted of the shame f and disgrace, 
which he sought to attach to me. 

Charge 3d. — Specifcation ith and 5th, 
The remarks made npon the 2d Charge " Drunkenness 
on duty," apply equally to these specifications, or at ail 
events to such parts of them, as the prosecutor has at- 
tempted to support by proof. 

* In a letter submitted to the general court martial, fi'om General 
Armstrong, in which he dealt out a fresh calumny against me, he de- 
clares that this letter was also submitted to President Madison, and 
after the conjoint deliberation of the trio> it was agreed that the poi- 
sons it contained, could not affect the mind of Major-general Lewis, 
and therefore it sliould be sealed, and sent forward to him. What a 
Secretary ! What a President ! for the intelligent., virtuous freemen o£ 
the United States, 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 471 

Charge Sd. — Specijication 6th. chap. 

The sixth specification is in the following words: — ^^* 
'<In inducing Brigadier-general Swartwout to send or 
convey to him an original order given by him, James 
Wilkinson, to said Swartwout, for the purpose of having 
it copied, pretending to have no copy thereof; and after 
obtaining the said original order, declining to return it, 
on the pretence that he had not seen the same, or been in 
possession thereof; or that it had not been communicated 
to him since the time of its issue : thus falsely, and un- 
justly withholding an order essential to the safety of a 
higli and responsible officer." 

In this specification, my accuser has attempted, to cast 
an imputation on my honour; but the poisoned javelin^ 
which has been hurled at me, will recoil on my enemy. The 
proof on the part of the prosecution, rests on the testimo- 
ny of the quarter-master general alone, who, on this occa- 
sion, certainly did not appear before the court as a dis- 
passionate witness. The paper which the quarter-mas- 
ter general charges me with detaining, is my order to 
him of the 25th of August, 1813, directing him to have 
the dragoons mounted, and to procure transport, for tlie 
removal of the divisions of the army, at Fort George 
and SaCkett's Harbour. 

The quarter-master general testifies, that shortly be- 
fore the troops sailed from Sackett's Harbour, I applied 
to him for the original order, for the purpose of taking a 
copy. That I observed to him, it was the only import- 
ant paper, of which I had not retained a copy; that I ap- 
plied to him for the order again, at Plattsburgh, on the 
21st of February, 1814-, where I again observed, that it 
was the only important document, of which I had not a 
copy ; that by some mistake, none had been taken, or if 
taken, was lost ; that he then promised to send it to me, 
and accordingly searched for and found the order. On 
the 22d of February, in the afternoon, as he was enclos- 
ing it to me, my orderly entered with an unimportant 
letter ; that he requested the orderly to wait, as he had a 
communication to make to me ; that he accordingly, en- 



4^73 MEMOIRS ]^Y 

CHAP, closed, sealed, and sent it by the messenger. General 
^^ Swartwout further testified, that he was at a party at 
judge De Lord's, my head quartcrs,the same evening; that 
my aid-de-camp, Captain M'Piierson, came from an up- 
per room ; that he asked Captain M^Pherson, «' if he had 
copied the orders as he would then take back the original;" 
to which Captain M<Pherson replied, " that he had not 
time to copy it, but would do so, and send him the origi- 
nal by 10 o'clock the ensuing morning." 

The next morning, between 8 and 9 o'clock, Gen. Swart- 
wout says, iie received a note from me, requesting him 
to send the order he had promised ; astonished at the 
contents, he called immediately on me, and after I had 
done breakfast, shewed me the note, expressed his asto- 
nishment, at what had happened, stated what had passed 
the evening before, between him and Captain M<Pherson, 
and looking me stedfastly in the face, said emphatically, 
«BY GaD, GENERAL WILKINSON, THAT OR- 
DER IS IN THIS HOUSE ;" that I expressed my re- 
gret, that the order could not be found, but did not ac- 
knowledge I had received it ; and that I said, I would 
give 100 guineas to have it, and appeared as much inte- 
rested in the loss as he was ; that nothing more passed, 
and no person was present. 

This was the testimony given by the quarter-master 
general on his direct examination. On his cross-exami- 
nation, when asked why he did not send a copy of the 
order to me, instead of the original, he answered with 
Spartan brevity, « FEELINGS OF DELICACY TO- 
WARDS MY SUPERIOR OFFICER." The next 
question, put to the quarter-master general was, *ijQr 
what purpose did you cause the order to be copied, and 
the copy attested, before you sent the original?'" To 
which he replied, " to guard against accident or design,^' 
The general was then asked, whether he had any rea- 
sons at the "time, to suppose I should destroy or with- 
hold the order ; to which he answered, «« that he had no 
reason to suppose I should destroy it, but it 7vas possible I 
might detain it; that some time before the delivery of the 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 473 

order, I had told him, that I had asked for a court mar- chap, 
tial, hilt did not recollect, wiiether at Plattshurgh, Ma- ^^' 
lone, or French Mills, and the detention of that letter, 
might have a bearing upon my trial." The reasons as- 
signed by the quarter-master general for supposing I had 
received the order, were, « the answer of Captain J\I*Fher- 
son, when he spoke to him on the subject^ and mij conduct 
the next morning, as stated by the witness in his testi- 
mony." 

Having presented to the court, the principal parts of 
the quarter-master general's testimony, on the subject, 1 
sljall take notice of some of the absurdities and false- 
hoods, which appear on the face of it. Tlie first thing 
to which I shall call the attention of the court, is the or- 
der itself. "Was there any thing so peculiar in that 
order, that I could have had any motive for getting it 
into my possession ?" 

The quarter-master general was asked this question, 
and his answer to it is remarkable. «« It is not for me to 
deierminCf*' said he. If the quarter-master general was 
unable to assign any sufficient motive, I cannot think the 
court will be able to do it. The order might, indeed, 
have a bearing on my trial, before a court martial ; and 
I have had occasion, repeatedly to refer to it, in repell- 
ing the charges ag'sinst me. It is somewhat singular, 
however, that the idea of using it on a trial, should have 
been suggested before the expedition Itft Sacketfs Har- 
bour, for the quarter-master general swears, that I ap' 
plied to him before that jieriod. There is another striking 
fact in the quarter-master general's testimony. He had 
taken the pains to make a copy, a>ul procured it to be 
attested by a witness, before he would risk sending it ^ 

to me. This, he says, was to «' prevent accident or de- 
sign;'' for he had been told by me, that 1 had asked for 
a court martial, and tl^e detention of this order might 
have a bearing on my trial. But how does the suspicion 
which the quarter-master general showed in this instance, 
agree with the <« feelings of delicacy towards a su})erior 
officer," which induced him to send the original* instead 
VOL. III. 3 0- 



474) MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, of a copy ? Is it possible one can admit feelings of deli- 
^^* cacy, towards a man against wirom he harbours such 
odious suspicions. The reasons which the quarter-mas- 
ter general gave for his belief, that I received this order, 
are most extraordinary. What was there in the conver- 
sation of Major M*Phcrson, even as stated by the quar- 
ter-master general, which could authorise him to lay to 
Diy charge so dishonourable an act, even if Major 
M<Pherson*s answer, to the quarter-master general, might : 
imply that he had seen the order? Was it, without as- 
certaining the fact to a certainty, sufficient to authorize 
so foul a suspicion against a superior officer, towards 
whom feelings of delicacy and respect liad, until that 
time, been entertained ? Why did not the quarter-master 
general take measures to see Major M'Pherson, by leav- 
ing a message at his lodgings ? The other reason assign- 
ed for his suspicion, is still more surprising. What was 
there in my conduct, when he called upon me, as stated 
by himself, which authorized the suspicion ? He says I 
expressed great regret, that the order could not be found, 
and appeared as much interested by the loss of it as he 
himself. But perhaps the quarter-master general dis- 
covered something in my looks, when he stained me m 
the face and swore so emphaticaUyf which he could not 
describe to the court; for surely no part of my conduct, 
to which he has testified, could afford the least ground 
for the vile suspicion. 

I might rest my defence against this charge, on the en- 
tire failure of the evidence on the pai't of the prosecution. 
But I owe it to my reputation, to show to this court and 
tlic world, that the quarter-master general, Swartwout, 
could not have had the slightest ground for casting this 
imputation on my honour. Tlic testimony of my secre- 
tary, Mr. Bel!, puts it beyond all doubt, that I have al- 
ways had two copies of the order, of the 25th of August, 
in my possession; one in my letter-book, and the other 
on my files. Mr. Bell testified, that in consequence of a 
correspondence I had vi^ith the seci-ctary'oF war, respect- 
ing a requisition which I had made on ific quarter-master 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 476 

general, for a large quantity of forage, in which I stated chap, 
to the secretary, that if there 7vas a deficiency of forage, ^^' 
it was the quarter-master general's fault, I wished to 
find the copy of the order, to shew the secretary ; that 
much search was made for it, and it could not be found. 
Mr, Bell says, among other papers which he shewed me, 
at the time of the search, was this order of the 9.5th of 
^igusi, and that I informed him, that was not the paper 
which J wanted. From this testimony it appears, that 
at the very time, I requested the quarter-master general, 
to lend me an original order for the purpose of taking a 
copy, the order of the 25th had been handed to me by my 
secretary. What, then, could have been my motive, in 
asking General Swartwout for this order ? Certainly it 
could not have been necessary for my justification, whilst 
I was in possession of a copy, made by my secretary 
from the original, at the time it hears date, and had ano» 
ther copy entered in my letter-hook. But the order 
might have been necessary to the "justification" of that 
"high and responsible otiicer," the quarter-master gene- 
ral. If I had any motive, therefore, it must have been 
to rob him of an order necessary to his justification- 
Even General Swartwout would not ascribe to me, a 
motive so ridiculous. He thought the possession of the 
order might aid me in my defence. The extreme folly 
and absurdity of such a motive, would suffice to re- 
fute the charge, as every gentleman of my family, and 
every agent in the quarter-master's department, would 
have been competent witnesses to prove the existence 
of the order, had I been weak enough to have destroy- 
ed or withlield it. I may confidently assert, that na 
rational ujotive can be assigned, why I should have 
made such an attempt. The quarter-master general has 
sworn, that he was certain and positive, that the order 
which / asked him for at Sachdt's Harbour, was the or- 
der of the Q5th of August. The most favourable sup- 
position which the court could make for the witness, 
would be to consider him mistaken, otherwise the facts 
sworn to by Mr. Bell are incredible, and my conduct in 



476 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, explicable. But I sliall endeavour to show, that the or- 
^^ ■ der which I requested tlie quarter-master general to lend 

mo, was not the order of the 2.5tli of August, and shall 
raise a presumption, at least, unfavourable to the credit 
of General Swartwout. 

The testimony of Mr. Bell, which I have already al- 
luded to, must satisfy the court, that 1 was very solici- 
tous to find an order respecting forage, which 1 had, or 
believed I had, given to the quarter-master general. I 
had some correspondence witli the secretary of war, re- 
specting the requisitions I had made for forage, and the 
failure of the quarter-master general to comply with 
them. This will appear by the letter of the secretary of 
war, of the 19th October, and my answer of the same 
date, in the printed documents communicated to Con- 
gress, on the 31st of January, 1S14. The secretary in 
his letter informed me, that the quarter-master general 
said forage could not be obtained, as « it must he carted 
from Lowville, (40 miles distant,) and transported hence 
by rvater.^' In answer to which I observed, " If there be 
a deficiency of forage on our part, it is the fault of the 
quarter-master general, who was instructed, as early as 
dngust, to lay in a supply of 12,000 bushels for the sub- 
sistence of the cavalry.'' It was for the purpose of sa- 
tisfying the secretary, of my early attention to this sub- 
ject, that I wished to find the requisition made on the 
quarter-master general, as is sufficiently proved by Mr. 
Bell who says my solicitude to find the order was great, 
and the searrh for it Avas renewed at Phtttsburgh, but it 
was never found. Tlie quarter-master general admitted 
on liis examination, that the secretary shelved him my letter 
of the 19th, and the court cannot have foi'gotten the sen- 
sibility of the witness on tiic occasion. He also admit- 
ted; that lie had received orders, to lay in forage for the 
expedition, but swore the ord-.-rs were verbal. I may here 
remark on the improbability of my having given, soj 
loose an 9rdcr on so important a subject, as the supplj 
of forage for the expedition. It, certainly, was not mj 
usual course on similar occasions. But I have proven to' 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 477 

the court, that I did issue a written order, to lay in a chap, 
large quantity of forage, in the month of August. Doc- ^^* 
tor Bull swears that, in the month of August, before my 
family was organized, he copied several papers for me, 
and, among others, he has a distinct recollection of copy- 
ing a letter to the quarter-master general, containing a 
requisition for tools, implements, and materials of va- 
rious kinds, with a quantity of oats, for the depending 
expedition. Colonel Pinkney testifies, that soon after I 
arHved at Fort George, I informed him, I had ordered 
the quarter-master general to provide a large quantity of 
forage, for the expedition. The attempt was made to 
impugn this evidence, by proving that I almost always 
preserved copies of my orders and letters. Butthegreat- 
Cvst attention, cannot always prevent such accidents. My 
situation, on my first arrival at Sackett's Harbour, was 
not such as to enable me, to observe my usual method 
of preserving my papers. The very fact, of my having 
employed my physician, to copy my correspondence, 
would be sufficient to account for the loss of a paper. I 
could not expect from him, the exercise of all the care 
and attention, which I should have exacted from a secre- 
tary. In other parts of his narration, respecting this 
business, the quarter-master general stands contradicted. 
He swears that some time, previously, to my renewing 
my request for the order, at Plattsburgh, I had informed 
him, that I had asked for a court martial j and this iur 
duced him to think, I might wish to detain the order, to 
answer some purpose on my trial. The court will see, 
in my letter to the secretary of war, dated Plattsburgh, 
20th March, 1814,* my first request for a court martial. 
This was a month after I applied to General Swartwout, 
at Plattsburgh, for the order j and the General says, it 
was some time before my application to him, tliat I 
informed him, I had asked for a court martial. The 
quarter-master generaPs memory, must, therefore, have 
been treacherous, and tlie motive ascribed to me, for 

* See Appendix, No. L. 



478 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, desiring to get away Iiis order, could not have existed. 1 
^^- now invite the attention of the court, to the testimony of 
Major M'Pherson, Mr. Bell, and Colonel Pinkney. The 
deposition of Major M'Pherson, utterly destroys the foun- 
dation, on which the quarter-master general founded his 
imputati )ns : it does more; it contradicts the General in 
a material point, and convicts him of a gross mistake or 
wilful misrepresentation. If the language of the two wit- 
nesses is attended to, the contradiction will be manifest. 
I shall, therefore, quote the testimony from the record. 
General Svvartwout swore, that he sent the original order 
by my orderly sergeant, on the afternoon of the 22d of 
February, « that on the same evening, while on a visit at 
Judge De Lord's, General Wilkinson's head quarters, 
his aid-de-camp. Captain M<Pherson, came from an up- 
per room; the witness asked him if he had copied the or- 
der, as he would then take back the original; Captain 
M'Plierson replied, that he had not had time to copy it, 
but would do so, and send him the original by 10 o'clock 
the next morning." Colonel M*Pherson's deposition on 
this point, is as follows : « There was a dance on that 
evening (the 22d Feb.) at the house of Judge De Lord, 
in Plattsburgh, attended by several officers, exclusive of 
General Wilkinson and his suite, who lived in the house; 
General Swartwout spoke to me respecting a paper, I 
tliink he said an order, he had sent to General Wilkin- 
son, and asked me to copy it, or have it copied for him, 
and return it the next morning, as lie intended to leave 
town for New York ; I replied, I would copy it or have 
it copied, and return it to him the next morning. Early 
the next morning, I looked for the paper, and could not 
find it." On his cross-examination. Colonel M*Pherson 
says, the order was never received at head quarters to 
his knowledge. How must the quarter-master general 
torture the language of Colonel M*Pherson, to have ena- 
bled him to draw from it the inference, that I had re- 
ceived the order, and that Colonel M*Pherson knew I had 
received it? The quarter-master general swore, that he 
sent the order by my orderly sergeant 5 that he did not 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 4^79 

know his name, nor did he ever see him afterwards. Co- CHAt*. 
ionel M'Phersoii says, when he looked for the order to ^^' 
copy next morning, he could not find it; that I seemed 
very uneasy at the loss of it, and directed him and Mr. 
Bell to make search for and discover the orderly, to whose 
care it had been intrusted; that strict search was made^ 
but it could not be found, nor could it be discovered by 
whom it had been sent; that he was my military secre- 
tary and enjoyed my confidence, and that he and Mr. 
Beli had charge of all my official papers at head quar- 
ters. The testimony of Mr. Bell agrees precisely with 
that of Colonel M«Pherson. Colonel Pinkneyswears,that 
wliile he acted as adjutant-general, at Plattsburgh, he 
came to my quarters at orderly hour, and found Captain 
M<Pherson and Mr. Bell busily employed, in searching 
for a paper, which General Swartwout said he had sent 
to head quarters, by an orderly sergeant; that I express- 
ed much anxiety, and requested liim to enquire, what ser- 
geants had been on duty; that the standing orderlies were 
all examined, and denied having carried the letter ; that 
the orderlies appointed by the adjutants, were also sent 
to head quarters to be examined, but no person was ever 
discovered, who had carried the letter. Colonel M*Pher- 
son testifies, that he has no recollection of General Swart- 
Wout's telling him, that the order which he had sent to me, 
was relative to mounting the dragoons and furnishing 
transport for the expedition; and to a question put by the 
judge advocate, « whether he has any reason to believe 
Major-general Wilkinson ever received the order, or 
knew of its being received?" Colonel M'Pherson answers, 
*^if I had thought General Wilkinson ever had received that 
order, or knetv of its being received, I should have regarded 
his denial of its reception, as base and treacherous, and in- 
stantly relinquished the duties of his staff.** 

I trust I have offered to the court, all the evidence, to 
disprove the base imputation made upon my honour, 
which the nature of the case admits. I have shewn, that 
I could have no possible, motive for getting poss'^ssion of 
the order, or for detaining it ; and I have shewn that it 



480 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, was morally impossible that I ever received it. Is it 
^^- not most astonishing, that the quarter-master general 
siiould have made so foul a'charge against me, on the 
very trivial circumstances of the suspicion, which he 
states 2 Was he not bound by every obligation of honour, 
justice, and decorum, to have been assured from Captain 
M*Pherson, that the order had been received at head 
quarters, before he lodged an information against me? Is 
it any excuse that he called at Captain M<Pherson's lodg- 
ings, and did not find him at home? Was it beneath the 
quarter-master general's dignity to leave a message for 
Captain M*Pherson, requesting an interview? How could 
he be assured, that the man who carried the letter, was 
my orderly, when he had no recollection of his name ? If 
my orderly, or any orderly who had been on duty, had 
carried tiie letter, he surely could have been traced. 

I shall make one more remark, on the quarter-master 
general's testimony. He says, that the morning after he; 
enclosed the order to me, he received a note from me, re- 
questing him to send the order, which he had promised. 
This note excited astonishment. He says it was deliver- 
ed by an ordeHyf but not the same one who carried the 
order. It would certainly have been more satisfactory, 
if the quarter-master general had preserved this note, 
and p'oduced it on his examination; it might have ex- 
plained some of the mysteries of the transaction. Per? 
haps it would have appeared, that it was the same not 
which Mr. Bell carried. And this is certainly very pro- 
bable, as the quarter-master general has not told the^ 
court, that he received more than one note, from me, re- 
questing him to send the order. Perhaps the note, if iti 
had been produced, would have had an unfavourable 
bearing, on the credit of the quarter-master general in 
another respect. It might have appeared from it, that] 
the order of the 25th of August, was not the one I re- 
quested him to send. A man of ordinary prudence, 
would certainly have preserved a note, which would hav^ 
convicted me of a falsehood, if the quarter-master gene 
ral put the right intej'pretation, m\ Colonel M<Pherson*l 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 48i 

conversation. General Swartvvout* has not informed the chap. 
court, what became of this note, and tliey are left to 
form, their own conjectures respecting it. 
Charge 4th. 

The last charge exhibited against me, is for «<counte= 

nancing and encouraging disobedience of orders." In i8= 

suing a general order at Waterford, in the state of New 

York, on the 18th January, 1814, and communicating 

'the same> to Colonel Simon Larned* then in the military 



* The following letter, from General Swartwout, proves his incoH' 
sistency beyond controversy, and must stagger all confidence in his 
candour ; — having-, as he swears, detected me, on the 23d of Februariff 
1814, in a most dishonourable act, which he found it necessary to re- 
port to the secretary of war, and having received permissmn, to re- 
pair to the seat of government, and actually taken leave of me; oa 
what ground can we account for this courteous billet, this voluntary 
effusion of respect from him, written the very morning after this pretend- 
ed detection, and the ferocious " BY GOD, GENERAL WILKINSON ?" 
it will be in vain, that the most ingenious casuist, shall search for a 
justifiable motive, if General Swartwout has sworn truly. He was re- 
leased from my command, and had long before declared to Doctor 
Ross, " he, the Doctor, had nothing to fear from me, for that I stood 
very low at the seat of government." He was on the wing to General 
Armstrong, who hated me, and who ruled poor President Madison, 
with a despotic hand; he had nothing to apprehend or hope, from 
an officer, who he knew had been denounced, by the secretary of war. 
How then are we to account for this oblation of gratitude, but by an 
impulse of justice, which my conduct extorted, in spite of hatred, ma- 
lice, and self-interest. 

** Plattsburgh, February 24, 1814. 
«'3ir, 

*' The campaign being closed, it becomes absolutely necessary, for 
me to go to Washington, to settle the accounts of my department. 
Having obtained your verbal permission, I pass this note thanking 
you for your politeness, and at the same time assuring you, that th^ 
quarter-master's department at this post, is properly organized, and 
fully competent to all the wants of the army. 
*• I have the honour to be, 
«' Sir, 

" Your obedient servant, 
(Signed) " ROBERT SWARTWOUTo 

*• Jifajor-general Wilkimnn^* 

voi. JUL 3 P 



48^ MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, service of the United States j of the tenor and eflfect fol- 
^^' lowing : 

GENERAL ORDER. 



*< Waterjordi January 18, 1814. 
"\ military oflScer is bound to obey, promptly and 
without hesitation, every order he may receive, which doCvS 
not affect his honour; but this precious inheritance must 
never be voluntarily forfeited ; nor should any earthly 
power wrest it from him. It follows, when an offi- 
cer is made prisoner and released on his parole of ho- 
nour, not to bear arms against the enemy, that no pro- 
fessional duties can be imposed upon him, while he con- 
tinues in that condition, and under such circumstances^ 
any military man will justify him for disobedience. Cap- 
tain J. D. Coon of the 16th infantry, and Captain Elara 
Lynds of the 29tli infantry, will join their respective re- 
giments without delay, and report to the pommandants 
thereof. 

"JAMES WILKINSON. 

«< Intending to contravene and defeat an order given 
hy the war department, in relation to prisoners of war, 
and communicated to the said Colonel Simon Larned, 
commanding at Greenbush, in the state of New York | 
thereby countenancingj and intending to encourage sub- 
ordinate officers, to disobey orders from the war depart- 
ment, and particularly that in relation to the duties to be 
imposed on prisoners of war, to the great detriment of 
the service, and entire prostration of all military disci- 
pline and obedience/' 

Tiie evidence adduced in support of this charge, is the 
testimony of Colonel Larned and Lieutenant Reab. Co- 
lo)iel Larned says, he received an order* from the secre- 
tary of war, about the 20th of November, 1813, direct- 

* This order was an usurpation of my legitimate authority, but 
usurpation had become the order of the day, with General Armstrong 
and President Madison. 



GENERAL WILKINSON, 483 

ing him to order in American prisoners of war, on pa- chap. 
role, and put tliem on garrison duty, at tlie cantonment ^^• 
at Greenbush. In pursuance of this order, the Colonel 
wrote to the officers in district No. 9, as fast as he could 
ascertain their places of residence, and among others to 
Lieutenant Reab, who came to tlie cantonment, and got 
permission to go to Troy for his baggage. That he also 
wrote to Lieutenant Carr, who wrote back, refusing to 
do duty. That Lieutenant Reab some time after brought 
an order from me, similar to the one set forth in the 
charge. That the order which I gave to Lieutenant 
Reab was published in the orderly book, at Greenbush. 
After which. Colonel Lamed left it to the discretion of 
the paroled officers, to do duty or not. Colonel Larned 
further testified, that on the 18th of January, 1814, he 
wrote to me a letter, mentioning the order which he had 
received from the war department. On cross-examina- 
tion. Colonel Larned said, he received an order from me5 
in August, 1813, directing him not to put officers on pa- 
role on duty. That he does not know, that the order of 
the secretary of war of November, 1813, was ever seen 
by me. Lieutenant Reab testified, that he signed a pa- 
role of honour, in Quebec, on the 19th of November^ 
1812, being then a prisoner of war. That on the 24tli 
of November, 1813, while still a prisoner on parole, he 
received an order from Colonel Larned, requiring him to 
repair to Greejibush, and do gari-ison duty. That he 
went there and reported himself on the 28th, and got 
leave of absence for some days. That he called on me 
at Waterford, in January, 1814, and exhibited Colonel " 
Larned's order to me. That I told him, I thought the 
order very improper. That I said 1 had received no 
order, from the secretary of war on the subject; — -and 
issued the order set forth in the charge, which he imme° 
diateiy carried to Greenbush, and delivered it to Captain 
Melvin, who commanded there in the absence of Colonel 
Larned. The court will remember, that the secretary of 
war issued an order, on the 14th of February, 1814/ 
^vll^ch recites a proclamation of Governor Prevost, issued 



^4< MEaiomS BY 

CHAP, at Kingston in September, 1813, declaring what services 
^^ paroled officers might perform, and alleging the practice 
of our government to justify it. 

The secretary's order directs that our officers on pa- 
role shall perform the same duty. This order, issued 
nearly a month suhsequent to mine at Waterford, is the 
only one on the subject, which I ever received from 
the w^ar department. The honourable president of this 
court has testified, that on the 13th November, 1812, at 
Whitehall in the 9th military district, he entered into a 
convention with Sir George Prevostj by which it was 
stipulated, that prisoners on parokf of eitlier party, 
should perform no military service whatever j and that a 
copy of the convention, he believes, was transmitted to 
the secretary of state. General Dearborn has further- 
testified, that in the spring of 1813, General Armstrong 
then secretary of war, ordered certain paroled officers to 
perform particular military duties. Presuming the se- 
cretary of war was not aware of the agreement. General 
Dearborn informed him of it, and the order was shortly- 
after countermanded. In issuing his proclamation, the 
British commander, was justified by the secretary's 
order. 

Thus stands the evidence in relation to the fourth 
charge. / 

It does not appear, that Colonel Larned communicated 
to me, the order of the secretary of war to him, for put- 
ting paroled prisoners on duty. But if he had, my con- 
duct would have been the same, and I should have stood 
justified to my profession, and by those land marks, which 
serve as guides to military men. It is a sound rule of 
service, that an order given to an inferior, is not obliga- 
tory on a superior; nor can a superior listen to an order, 
from an inferior, unless through the regular organ. 
Break down these distinctions, and we confound all 
ranks, orders, and authorities; every body would order 
and no body obey. I hold that the officer who suffei's 
himself to be made the instrument, for abrogating a fun- 
damental principle of service, is unworthy to wear a 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 480 

sword, and should forfeit the confidence of the govern- CHA.P, 
ment. The officer who obetjs at the expense of ease, com- ^^" 

fortf health, fortune and life is a soldier. He who obeys at 
the expense of his honour is a slave. To prove that my 
opinion and practice on this point are not founded in ca- 
price, I beg leave to refer the court to the letter written 
by me to the honourable James M*Henry, secretary of 
war in the year 1798.* In that letter, I wrote directly to 
the secretary, « that on general professional principles, I 
had refused to read a paper from him, presented to me by a 
subordinate officer." 

The case before the court presents an usurpatory, and 
tyrannical attempt of the secretary, in violation of his 
own specific engagement, entered into with me, before I 
took the command of the northern frontier; in his letter 
of the 9th of August, and in the fifth stipulation of tJiat 
letter, he says, <« all orders to subordinate officers, pass 
from the war department to the adjutant-general, to be 
communicated by him to the general, commanding the 
district in which such subordinate officer may serve.'* 
But while he was unwilling to be bound by principle 
and compact, this secretary has endeavoured to subserve 
military men, to his own interested, ambitious, and arbi- 

L trary purposes. 

\ He charges me with disregard of his authority, in Ja- 
nuary, when, in fact, the order in question was issued in 
February. 

Having thus, gentlemen, gone through the testimony, 
I shall proceed to sum up and conclude. 



• It will be remembered that, that period was designated the reign of 
terror, but did the secretary of war presume to prostrate a hallowed 
principle, that he might tyrannize over me? — No ! the virtuous inde- 
pendent patriot John Adams, had not learned how to make sacrifices 
of individual rights " to the harmony of the cabinet." He did not coun> 
tenance the outrage and usurpation of his ministers. 



486 MEMOIRS BY 



CHAP 



CoNClTJSIOIf. 

From the testimony before the court, and the docu- 
mental proofs attached to this defence ; I trust, the fol- 
lowing conclusions may be fairly drawn : 

^That w lien ordered to the command on the Mississippi 
in 1812, the measures which I adopted there, and the pre- 
parations which ensued, contributed, essentially, to baffle 
the recent attempts of the enemy, and consummate the 
splendid success of our arms in that quarter. 

That the occupancy of Mobile point had never before 
been attempted, either by the French, Spanish, or British 
governments, which were, successively, in possession of the 
Floridas ; but, that the battery which I established there, 
with the guns and munitions of war I had previously taken 
from the Spaniards at Mobile, answered the end of its 
institution, and covered the feeble settlements on the bay, 
from the meditated depredations of the enemy. 

That the work which I had erected at the Petite Co- 
quiLLE, to command the communication, with Lake 
PoNTCHARTRAiN from without, diverted the enemy, from 
the attempt to pass that strait into the lake, and prevent- 
ed his getting into the rear of our army; and induced 
l»im, to make his descent from Lake Borgne, below the 
city of New Orleajis, at a point difficult of approach, ad- 
verse to his views, and most favourable to our own ; be- 
cause it placed him, in front of our whole force, and left 
our magazines open to our rear; and the resources of the 
upper country free of access. 

Tliat Fort St. Philip, at Placquemine, on the left 
bank of the Mississippi, which I garnished with heavy 
guns, and prepared for the occasion, before I left Louisi- 
ana, repulsed his vessels of war, a!id prevented the ascent 
of his fleet; which broke his force, and blasting his hopes 
of succour, after the desperate attempt of the 8th of Ja- 
nuary, compelled him to retire with disgrace. 

That I was ordered from the chief command in the 
south, where I had sown the seed of an harvest, which 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 487 

others were destined to reap, to report myself to Major- chap. 



general Dearborn, at Sackett*s Harbour, a distance of 
eighteen hundred miles; and that I cheerfully obeyed the 
command, at much peril and an enormous expense. 

That when I arrived at the seat of government, I was 
ordered to the command, on the northern frontier, for 
the execution of a projectf which I did not appi^ove, and 
with promises from the secretary of war) of men and 
means which were not furnished ; and under stipulations^ 
which were not observed. 

That on my arrival at Sackett's Harbour, where the 
equipments for the meditated expedition should have 
been in forwardness, I discovered no expedition had been 
even thought of j that the means at that late season, were 
to be provided, and that shape and consistency were to 
be given to the troops. That the important department 
of the quarter-master general, was in the hands of men, 
skilled in commercial speculations, but strangers to mili- 
tary combinations, and utterly ignorant of the attirail of 
an army, and the ordinary preparations indispensable to 
its operations. 

That having done all in my power, at that post, to for- 
ward the measures necessary to the expedition, and to 
form and fit the troops for action, I departed for Niaga- 
ra, to hasten the division from that point to Sarkett's 
Harbour; and that to accelerate my journey, I took the 
shortest route, regardless of my health, and arrived at 
Fort George, on the 4th of September. 

That at this place, as at Sackett's Harbour, I found a 
sickly camp, undisciplined troops, disorganized corps, a 
destitution of transport, and a defective quarter-master's 
department. 

That having every thing to provide, delays were un- 
avoidable j and that they were necessarily prolonged by 
opposite winds, and the equivocal relations of the adr 
verse squadrons ; it being clearly understood, at the seat 
of government, that until our superiority was established 
.on the lake, no enterprise could be undertaken by water.* 

* President Madison made this observation to mc. 



XV. 



48d MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. That on the 25th of September, before this superiority 
^^' was determined, I had called a council of war, and indi- 
cated to it my intention to attack Kingston ; and to in- 
crease my force, I proposed to abandon Fort George 
and raze the works, which was prohibited by the secre- 
tary of war. 

That whilst I was thus engaged, the secretary of war 
following my footsteps, entered the district of my com- 
mand, and, without my privity, commenced a cori*espon- 
«Jence, with Major-general Hampton, commanding the 
right division of the army, placed under my immediate 
orders, and did take upon himself the command of the said 
Hampton; whereby the bonds of subordination and obe- 
dience were dissevered the fundamental principles 

of discipline prostrated my legitimate and essential 

authority annulled— and my responsibility for the issue 
of tlie campaign dissolved. 

That after the engagement between the rival squa- 
drons, on the 28th of September, Commodore Chaunrey 
Called on me, the 1st of October, and proffered his 
services, to escort the flotilla down the lake; but upon 
my siiggestionf pursued a different coitrsef whereby he 
caiitured Jive transports of the etiemyf with two hundred 
men of De Watteville's regiment on board. 

That having got the whole of the flotilla under way 
from Fort George, on the 2d of October, I sailed for 
Sackett's Harbour, and arrived there on the 4th, where 
I found the secretary of war, accompanied by a long 
suite of respectable citiaen soldiers, and in the actual ex- 
ercise of the command, which had been conferred on me, 
by the President of the United States ; whereby my au- 
thority was degraded, and but for my seasonable arrival, 
the safety of the whole division would have been endan- 
gered. 

That the said secretary of war, did take upon himself, 
at Sackett's Harbour, without my privity or approbation, 
to order the embarkation of the provisions, hospital stores, 
and medicines for tlie army; whereby the responsibility 
of the proper departments, was either confounded or de- 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 489 

atroyed, and great losses and injury to the public service chap. 
ensued. ^^' 

That after the said secretary of war, had agreed with 
me, to make Kingston the first point of attack, and at a 
tinie when the troops at Sackett's Harbour, were detain- 
ed there by stress of weather, he did actually transmit 
orders to Major-general Hampton, oil the I6th of Odo- 
bcVf to proceed to tlie mouth of the *» Chateavgay riverf 
or other point which ahnll better favour our junction, a^id 
hold the enemy in check;" and on the very same day, 
ordered the said Hanijjton, by the agency of my quarter- 
master general, Swartwout, to build huts for 10,000 men 
tvithin the limits of Canada; which orders were issued 
without my knowledge or privity, and under the circum- 
stances of the moment were injudicious, inconsistent, and 
incompatible. 

That at Sackett's Harbour, the secretary of war ew- 
tered into intrigues, with the quarter- master general, 
Swartwout, to whom he exposed my correspondence, and 
having changed his mind, from the direct attack of King* 
ston to that of Montreal, he in his letters of the 19th and 
20th October, did, by the suggestion of insuperable ob- 
stacles, by his information and opinions, and by reference 
to still liigher authority* in support of his opinions, drive 
me from my purpose to attack Kingston, and incline me, to 
descend the St. Lawrence, to the direct attack of Montreal, 

That, at Sackett's Harbour, the severe malady by 
which I was afflicted, disposed me to resign the com- 
mand of the army, from which I was dissuaded by my 
surgeon; but that, notwithstanding my illness, I omitted 
no precaution in my power, for the safety and success 
of the expedition; and cotitrary to all example, embark- 
ed on scows, built by my especial direction, eighteen 
pounders on travelling carriages, fitted for action, by 
■which means our flotilla was twice saved from destruc- 
Hon, viz. AT French Creek, akd near Chrysti,eb's 
MELD. That I had been positively assured of protee* 

* That of the President. 

vol.. in. 3 Q 



490 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, tion, by the secretary of war, and also by Commodore 
^^ Chauncey as far as his power enabled him, against the 
pursuit of the enemif by water from Kingston; but ne- 
vertheless, he did pursue me the day after I left French 
Creek, and came up with the rear of the army nnder my 
command, near the narrows of the St. Lawrence, about 
twenty miles below Prescott. 

That the troops of my command, were organized and 
formed into brigades and divisions; that competent and 
judicious orders were issued and arrangements made, 
for forming, marching, cn( amping and fighting the army, 
and that the necessary signals, were established to direct 
the embarking, sailing and landing of tlie troops. 

That in passing the enemy's fort of Prescott, the ne- 
cessary precautions were taken, to save unnecessary pe- 
rils, and to effect the passage of the flotilla with as little 
damage as possible; and it appears that this operation 
was performed in great order, and with the loss of one 
man only. 

That in consequence of the universal hostility of the 
inhabitants of Canada, and of the arrangements adopted 
by the enemy, to harass and impede the progress of the 
army, it became necessary to make detachments, to the 
left bank of the river, to protect my front against the am- 
buscades and batteries of the enemy. 

Tliat on the 10th of November, having approached the 
head of the Long Saut, Brigadier-general Brown was 
detached, to drive the enemy from a position at a block 
house, on the bank of the river, and Colonel Bissell or- 
dered to dislodge a party from an island in the Long 
Saut. 

That the enemy fired on my rear that day, and that to 
lighten the batteaux, and save the army from insult. Bri- 
gadier-general Boyd was ordered to land with a select 
detachment, and that the flotilla waited to give time for 
Colonel Bissell's movement, and to hear the result of an 
action. General Brown had with the enemy in our front 
about noon. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 49 i 

That on the morning of the 11th, before advice had CHAP, 
been received from Brigadier- general Brown, bwt after 
I had ordered the flotilla to prepare to sail, Captain Mul- 
caster of the British navy, with a heavy galley, mount- 
ing a long twenty-four pounder, and several gun boats, 
fell down the St. Lawrence, and opened his battery on 
our flotilla, but was repulsed by one of our eighteen 
pounders. That the enemy manoeuvered on our rear, 
about the same time, in such manner as to indicate a de- 
termination to attack us, the moment the flijtilla should 
separate from the marching column. 

That under such circumstances, it became necessary 
to free our rear by checking the enemy; and that this 
was effectually produced on that day, at Chrj stler's field, 
after which the army experienced no interruption by land 
or water. 

That in the aff*air of the llth of November, no blame 
can possibly attach to me, as the order of the 10th gave 
Brigadier-general Boyd unrestrained discretion, which 
he exercised in fighting the enemy, retiring from t!ie 
field, and ordering the troops to the flotilla. That no 
application was made to me, during the action, for a re- 
inforcement; but, that judging from the report of the 
small arms, as I lay on my pallet, I directed 600 men, 
under Lieutenant-colonel Upliam and Major Malcolm, to 
reinforce Brigadier-gent^ral Boyd, and ordered every 
man capable of bearing arms, who could he spared from 
the boats, to sustain the troops engaged. 

That Brigadier-general Brown httd been attacked on 
the lOth, about 12 or 1 o'clock, by a corps of 1,500 militia, 
under a Colonel Dennis of the British service, 12 or 14 
miles from Chrystler's field ; that he repulsed the enemy, 
and that niglit pursued his march to Mille Roches, four 
miles further. 

That the strength, resources, and dispositions of t!ic 
enemy, were grossly misrepresented by the secretary 
of war, in his letters to me of the 8th of August and 
37th of October, 1813, and in other letters, whereby 1 
was deceived, and unexpected embarrassments were pro 



i:Q2 MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP, duced ,• ami that by the conduct of the secretary and 
^^ MAJor-f^eneral Hampton, and the ultimate defection of 
the latter (emphatically described by the secretary of 
war himself, in his communication to Major Lee, the 
13th December, at the city of New York), the expedition 
against Montreal was abandoned. 

That the secretary of war, after the campaign had 
closed, and I was worn down by disease and confined to 
my bed by an afflicting malady, notwithstanding my 
application for a change of position, on the statement of 
my physician, that such change was necessary to the 
preservation of my life, continued me amidst the frost 
and snows of Canada, in the exercise of the most criti- 
cal command, within the national limits, long after he 
Jiad condemned me to Colonel King for the failure of the 
expedition, and had justified the conduct of General 
Hampton. That during this period of pain, siiffeiing, 
and anxiety, the secretary usurped the command, from 
which he would not relieve mo, and at the distance of 600 
miles, interposed his orders to my subordinate officers, 
without my privity or consent, thereby, with obvious in- 
tention, to degrade me in the eyes of the troops, and to 
favour his sinister designs against me. 

That after I had, by my vigilance and arrangements, 
protected an exposed flank of sixty-four miles, against 
loss and insult, during an intelup(^rate winter, I was re- 
called fiom my command, on the ostensible grounfl, that 
it was to indulge my request for a court of enquiry, made 
provisionally five n);.iths before, which had not been no- 
ticed by ths secretary of war, and which I had absolutely 
forgotten. 

That in packing a court of enquiry, he selected two 
of my avowed enemies,^ Colonels King and Hamilton, 
whom he had recently promoted; the first to be a mem- 
ber anil the other recorder of the court; young men! who 
had not long before served iim]ci'' me, as subalterns, and 

• I liad mentioned to Gcnet:i! Armstrong the hostility ©f these offi- 
cers loiiu before. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 493 

were unborn when I wore a sword in the service of my chap. 



pountry— at a time, when there were five or six general 
officers,* within half the distance from the place where 
the court was ordered to convene, and the greater part 
of them unemployed. 

That the secretary of war, afterwards, at my request, 
changed the court of enquiry into a general court mar- 
tial, and appointed five members for my trial, including 
Colonel King as a member, and Lieutenant-colonel Ha- 
milton as judge advocate ; but before this court could be 
formed, his dread of the investigation^ induced him on 
the 28th of May, 1814, under & false pretext,^ and at the 
expense of his veracity^ to adjourn the said court and to 
suspend its proceedings indefinitely. 

7Miat the said secretary of war, having thus bereft me 
of my command, and cut me off from the hopes of a 
prompt trial and speedy justice, did attempt to exile me, 
from my domicile and family ; my residence being in the 
city of Washington, at that time. 

* Major-general Dearborn and Brigadier-general Boyd, at Boston; 
Brigadiers-general Gushing and Burbeck, at Newport and New Lon- 
don ; Brigadier-general Porter, at New York; Brigadiers-general 
Macomb, Smith, and Bissell, at Plattsburgh. 

f Extract of a letter from the Secretary of War to General Wilkinson, 

dated April 28th, 1814. 
Sir, 

Your letter of the 8th instant, shewing the enemy to be already in mo- 
tion on Lake Chumplain, and letters from General Gaines, slating an 
equal degree of preparation and activity on their part on Lake Onta- 
rio, make it imprudent to go on, as was intended, with an investiga. 
tion into your military conduct at present. You will choose between 
Philadelphia, Baltimore and AnnaJ)olis, as a place of residence, report 
your arrival, and -wait further orders. 

Extract of a letter from General Wilkinson to the Secretary of War, 

dated. Head of Lake George, May 6th, 1814. 
Sir, 

Pardon me for observing, that in my letter of the 8th, I apprised 
you, " that from iriformation received, the enemy^s squadron was ready to 
sail,'" not that he was " in motion on Lake C'hamplain," because the ice 
at ^e foot of the lake had not at that time given way. 



XV 



494/ MEMOIRS BY 

CHAP. The artifices of my accuser prevailed. He deprived 
^^" me of my sword in the dawn of the campaign; threw me 
out of the path of glory, and the injury is irreparable. 

The troops i formed and disciplined in hardshipSi and sitf- 
' ferings and perils, under my orders, token fitted for action 

and prepared to meet the enemy, were destined to gather 
laurels, to decorate the brows of more fortunate men. 

But amidst the ills inflicted upon me by this tyrant, 
tlie hand of heaven was outstretched in my behalf, and 
the disgraceful flight of this destroyer of the capital of his 
country, placed the office he had abused in honoura- 
ble hands, and secured to me an impartial tribunal to 
judge my conduct; a tribunal! the first in point of rank 
and experience, one only excepted, which ever assembled in 
the United States, 

But, Mr. President, I possess other sources of conso- 
lation, which no earthly power can take away from me. 
I have borne arms and faitJ fully served my country through 
three wars — nay, more — / have saved her from civil 
war.— How many toilsome days have I laboured, for 
the honour of my country ! How many sleepless nights, 
have I watched over her safety ! Thirty-nine years past, 
I marched a company over the very ground, on which I 
now stand arraigned, then waste, wild, and uncultivated; 
now the scene of industry, of wealth and talents; the 
seat of social refinement, of personal charms, and polish- 
ed society. In October next, it will be thirty-eight 
years, since I led the captive Burgoyne, from his en- 
trenchments, to surrender an army of six thousand vete- 
ran troops, of Europe, on the plains of Saratoga, under 
a convention countersigned by the hand, which now pre- 
sents it, to this honourable court, with the prayer, that it 
may be permitted to accompany the records of this day, 
and find a place in the archives of the war department.* 

Mr, President! may the war-worn veteran, with a ruin- 
ed constitution, the fruits of the services of his whole life, 
and struggling under the obloquy heaped on him by his 

* See Copy of the Convention in Vol. I. 



GENERAL WILKINSON. 495 

accuser, be permitted to produce a more recent instance chap. 
of his zeal, in the public service ; to shew that if he has ^l,^^-. 
not been triumphant, that if he has been deprived of the 
opportunity, to swell his humble fame in torrents of 
bh)od, his time has not been uselessly employed to the 
state. 

The testimonials of those meritorious, gallant offi- 
cers, Commodore Macdonougli and Major-general Ma- 
comb,* seconded by the credentials of a respectable eye 
witness, a citizen of this state, will prove beyond doubt, 
that my agency contributed, essentially, to our naval 
triumph on Lake Champlain, and the preservation of 
our garrison at Plattsburgh. 

From these documents it will appear, that but for my 
precaution in establisliing a battery at the mouth of Otter 
Creek, the early movement of the enemy, made against 
that point, in May last, would have blocked up our squa- 
dron for the season ; the shores of the lake would have 
been exposed to his ravages, and Plattsburgh must have 
yielded to his superior force. 

Mr. President and gentlemen ; whatever may be my 
future destiny, a destiny at this moment wra]Jt in clouds, 
I shall bear in grateful recollection, the patience with 
which you have waded through this tedious enquiry ; 
I confide in the justice of your award, because I am 
satisfied, it will be founded in integrity ; — whatever it 
may be, I am prepared to meet it with complacency, 
and were it proper for me to express a wish, on the aw- 
ful occasion, which interests my feelings neakek than 
life itself, I should say, if guilty, let my punishment 

BE EXEMPLARY — IE INNOCENT, ACQUIT ME WITH HO- 
NOUR. In the LAST EVENT I SHALL NOT HAVE LIVED 
IN VAIN. 

(Signed) JAMES WILKINSON, 

Major-generaL 

* See Appendix, No. LXX. 



496 MEMOms BT 



CHAP. 
XV. 



Troy, March 21sf, 1815* 
The couHt convened pursuant to previous adjourn- 
ment, and after maturely, and deliberately, weighing, the 
facts adduced in evidence, decided, 

That no censure, attaches to the accused^ from all or any 
of the specifications, embraced under charge 1st. 

The court doth, thereupon, proxoua^ce Major-gE- 
NERAL James Wiikinson, NOT GUILTY, « of ne- 

GlECT of duty and UNOFFICER-LIKE CONDUCT." 

That the first, and second sjiecifications, of Charge 2d, 
ARE UNSUPPORTED BY EVIDENCE, and THE COURT, ac- 
cordingly, finds. Major-general James Wilkinson 
NOT GUILTY of the 2d Charge of "DRUNKEN- 
NESS ON DUTY." 

All and each of the specifications, embraced under 
Charges 3d and 4th, being next fleliberated on in suc- 
cession, THE COURT DECIDED, THAT NO BLAME AT- 
TACHES TO THE ACCUSED, FROM ALL OR ANY OF THEM, 
AND ACCORDINGLY, PRONOUNCES M A JOR- GENERAL 

James Wilkinson NOT GUILTY, " of conduct un- 
becoming AN officer and A GENTLEMEN," Or « OF 
COUNTENANCING AND ENCOURAGING DISOBEDIENCE OF 
ORDERS." 

It is, therefore, ADJUDGED AND DETERMIN- 
ED THAT Major-general James Wilkinson, of the 
United States army, BE AND HE IS HEREBY 
HONOURABLY ACQUITTED of all and every of 

the charges and SPECIFICATIONS AGAINST HIM EX- 
HIBITED. 

H. DEARBORN, Maj\ Gen. 

Fresident, 
E. A. Bancker, Judge Advocate. 

The sentence of the court is approved. 

JAMES MADISON, 

Jlpril 18, 1815. 



TOE EJVP. 



APPENDIX. 



No. I. 

MINUTES OF A COUNCIL OF M AR, HELD AT SACKETT'S HAR- 
B0UR, AUGUST 26, 1813. 

PnESEirx — Major-general Wilkinson, Major-general Lewis, Commodope 
Chauncey, Brigadier-general Brown, Brigadier-general Swartwout, Q. M Gen. 

Major-general Wilkinson states to the council the views of the government, 
and the relative situation of affairs. 

The conquest of the province of Upper Canada comprises the instructions of 
the executive of the United States, for the service of this army the impending 
campaign, and the reduction of Kingston, by a direct attack or indirect move- 
ment, embraces the primary objects of these instructions. 

From the best information possessed, the main force of the enemy in Upper 
Canada opposed to this command, is divided between the head of Lake Ontario, 
Kingston and Prescott ; say at the first place 2000 regular troops, besides mili- 
tia and auxiliary savages ; at Kingston 3650 regulars and 1500 militia, together 
with the naval force when in port, estimated at 1000 or 1200 men ; and at Pres- 
cott 850 men, making a total of at least 9000 combatants. But this force is so 
far divided, that not more than 4000 men can be brought to act seasonably and 
with effect at any given point, unless we should attack Kingston, in which case, 
by the addition of seamen and marines, the number may be increased to 6000, 
for the defence of the various, the extensive, and widely detached works of 
that depot. 

The whole present effective force of the army of this district may be estimat- 
ed at 7400 combatants, exclusive of the naval department. But this force 
may, it is expected, by the recovery of the sick, and the junction of recruits, 
be augmented to 9000 combatants, exclusive of militia, on whom no solid re- 
liance can be placed, by the 20th of next month. Our army at present occupies 
the following places, viz.: at Fort George and Niagara 3500, at Onvego 100, 
at this place 2000? and at Burlington on Lake Cliamplain 4000. This distrac- 
tion of our force weakens our hands, and puts it out of our power to make any 
decisive stroke to break the strength and impair the vigour of the enemy ; in- 
deed the division on Champlain is too remote to afford us prompt succour iix 
this quarter, should it become necessary; but it may operate as a powerful divi« 
sion on the side of Montreal, where it is believed the enemy resls his chief de- 
fence on his organized militia. The season is wasting rapidly, and the honour 
and interests of the nation imperiously demand that a deadly blow should be 
struck somewhere. 

In the mean time the enemy continues to reinforce his posts in this quarter, 
and to strengthen his position in the neighbourhood of Fort George, where the 
commander in chief is now acting in person. 
VOL. Ill, (a) 



APPENDIX. 

As the success of every operation will depend on the conjunct exertions of 
the army and navy, it is enjoined by the executive, that a cordial co-operation 
and a perfect good understanding should be maintained between the comman- 
ders of those departments respectively. 

Having- submitted this statement of facts to the consideration of the council. 
Major-general Wilkinson i-equests their sentiments on the following points, viz. : 

1st. — To await, in our present positions, a combat between the rival squadrons 
for the supremacy on the lake. 

2d. — To assemble a sufficient force at Fort George to cut up the enemy in 
that quarter; then to descend to this place, call the division from Champlaui, 
incorporate the whole, and make a direct attack on Kingston. 

3d. — To concentrate all the troops on the lake in this vicinity, order the divi- 
sion on Champlain to feint upon Montreal ; or to carry a real attack against it, 
should circumstances warrant, and then with the troops assembled here, to re- 
duce Kingston and proceed against Montreal, should the season permit ; or 

4th. — To rendezvous the whole of the troops on the lake in this vicinity, and 
in co-operation with our squadron, to make a bold feint upon Knigston, slip 
down the St. Lawrence, lock up the enemy in our rear to starve or surrender, 
or oblige him to follow us without artillery, baggage or provisions, or eventu- 
ally to lay down his arms, to sweep the St. Lawrence of armed craft, and in con- 
cert with the division under Major-general Hampton, to take Montreal. 

Upon' the various propositions submitted by the commander in chief to the 
council, consisting of the general officers of the division and Commodore Chaun- 
cey of the navy, they are of opinion, that 

1st. — It is not necessary to await the result of a conflict between the hostile 
squadrons, as the operations of the army, in the event of the adoption of either 
of these propositions, will not depend upon a co-operation with the fleet, fur- 
ther than to secure the passage of the troops into the St. Lawrence. 

2d. — The second proposition is rejected, because the object appears to be a 
partial one, as far as relates to the proposed operations against the division in 
the vicinity of Fort George. The loss of time also would probably render it 
too late to carry an attack against Kingston this campaign. 

3d. — This proposition is also considered a partial operation, and one for 
which the force on this lake might possibly prove inadequate. 

4th.— The fourth and last meets the approbation of the council. The object 
appears feasible, and if accomplished the upper country must fall of course ; 
for it is incapable of subsisting the enemy's force for any length of time, and 
the possession of Montreal will certainly destroy the line of communication be- 
tween the upper and lower provinces. The feint on Kingston is reserved for 
future consideration, 

MORGAN LEWIS, 
ISAAC CHAUNCEY, 
ROBERT SWARTWOUT, 
JACOB BROWN. 



APPENDIX. 



No. II. 

GENERAL ORDERS. 

ffead Quarters, Military JDistrict, JVb. 9, Sackett^s Harbour^ 
August 23d, 1813. 

The President having been pleased to appoint Major-general Wilkinson to 
the command of the troops of this district : in entering on the dread responsi- 
bility attached to the trust, he considers it a matter of propriety towatds him- 
self} and of respect to the army, to submit the following avowals and reflections 
for the information of all ranks. 

The General undertakes the arduous and important task assigned him, with 
a bosom dead to personal sympathies and antipathies; and alive only to the 
cause of his country, which he trusts will employ and animate, to the exclusion 
of all minor interests, every gentleman he has the honour to command. He 
therefore calls on all ranks, and he does it with confidence, to co-operate with 
him cordially, for the introduction and maintenance of an uniform system of 
subordination, discipline and police; without which, neither zeal, nor numbers, 
nor courage can avail any thing. To give effect to military institutions, respon- 
sibility and power must be clearly defined and inseparably attached, from the 
lowest to the highest gi'ades. The sergeant for his squad, the subaltern for his 
section, the captain for his company, the major for his battalion, the colonel for 
his regiment, the brigadier for his brigade, and the major-general for his divi- 
sion ; each in their respective spheres exercising their proper functions without 
collision ; preserve this chain of dependence and authority, and the complete 
machine harmonizes in all its parts ; break one link, you disorder the goodly 
fabric, and confusion and anarchy must ensue. As soon, therefore, as the army 
is regularly brigaded, the commander can receive no application of a profes- 
sional nature, but throagh the medium of his general officers (except in cases 
of personal grievance), because it is to them he must look for the appearance, 
conduct and efficiency of their respective corps ; and conformably to this prin- 
ciple, general officers will correspond with the colonels, or commanding officers 
of regiments and corps only; they with their captains; and the same relation 
descends through the subalterns to the non-commissioned officers, the very 
root of all order and discipline. 

The General's orders will be few, and these as concise as possible. He will 
require from no one (relative rank and functions considered) that which he will 
not himself be ready to perform. It will be his pride to participate toil, ha- 
zard, peril and glory with those he commands : but his orders and arrange- 
ments must be implicitly obeyed, and promptly executed. He will cherish 
harmony, union, and a manly paternal spirit, as the precursors of triumph .ind 
fame ; but should intrigue and faction, those demons of discord, ever shew 
their heads within the limits of his command, it will be his duty to strangle 
them in the birth. 

No correspondence is to be obtruded upon the secretary of war, but in cases 
of personal grievance ; and then through the office of the adjutant-general; and 
all gentlemen in commission are requested to forbear writing o* military topics, 
past or perspective, before the close of the campaign ; because the discordant 
opinions which are sent forth respecting motives and measures, the merits of 



APPENDIX. 

which can be understood by those only who govern and direct, distract the pub- 
lic mind, shake public conndence^ and degrade the military character. 

The rights of a soldier are few, and these should be sedulously guarded. 
The officer who would usurp or abandon an iota of them, is a traitor to his pro- 
fession, and unworthy the community of honourable men ; yet we must be care- 
ful not to confound republican freedom with military subordination ; thing- as 
irreconcileable as opposite elements — the one being founded in equality, and 
the other resting on obedience, 

The commanding- general, during his halt, will give the word, and occasion- 
ally issue orders of u general import; but Major-general Lewis will continue 
his command of the pust, and will be pleased to furnish the following returns 
and reports as speedily as possible, viz. * 

1st. — The state of the division, in relation to men, arms, clothing and accou- 
trement^ by corps, companies and detachments ; to distinguish accurately the 
duty men, the strongly convalescent, and those deemed too feeble for the du- 
ties of the campaign, 

2d. — Ordnance, military stores, and ammunition, fixed and unfixed; to dis- 
tinguish xhe horse artillery and their equipments, and ihe pieces on travelling 
carriages ; small arms and accoutrements, to distinguish good from bad; 

3d. — Quarter-master's stores, tools and implements, lo include forage. 

4th. — Medicine and hospital stores, instruments and furnit'ire. 

5th. — Transport by land and water, to include equipments, and exhibit the 
fitness for immediate service. 

6th. — Clothing and equipments for man and horse. 

7th. — Camp equipage, — and 

8th. — Provisions and contractor's stores, with their means of transport. 

It must be a standing order, that whenever a deserter presents himself, he 
is to be immediately conducted to the commanding officer of the post or place, 
without being questioned. The same rule is to prevail in respect to strangers 
or suspected characters, found lurking about the army, or any detachment 
of it. 

JA. WILKINSON, 



Sir. — Be pleased, In your orders to-day, to direct a detachment of 800 men, 
properly officered and completely ammunitioned, with cii.thing, camp equip- 
age, 8cc. and twenty day's provisions, to be ready on the 25th for distant com- 
mand to the southward. The quarter-master general to furnish transport and 
pilots. The commanding officers to call on me for orders. 

Yours respectfully, 

JA. WILKINSON. 

J^Iajor-general Leivis. 

Be so good as to send your adjutant to me for orders. J. W. , 



Head Quarters, Sacketfs Harbour, Military District, J^o. 9, 
August 24th, 1813. 

The appearance of the troops on Sunday afforded the commanding general 
sensible pleasure, yet much remains to be done to form them for general action, ' 



APPENDIX. 

and that in a very short period. The General therefore calls for the redoubled 
industry and exertions of all ranks throughout the several divisions of the 
army under his command, which is destined to meet the enemy before the 
close of the campaign. 

A soldier cannot learn too much, for the love of his profession increases with, 
his knowledge of duty, until attention to arms and dress become habitual, and 
toil is converted into pleasure. But the stage of the campaign does not give 
time for decorations, and therefore the General relies, that both officers and 
men will devote every hour from rest to the acquisition of essentials. 

The troops must be instructed in the expert use of their arms, and an uni- 
formity of pace in every movement ; to form the column, and to display it with 
celerity and correctness ; to change front to the right and left by battalions or 
brigades with promptitude and good order, and to preserve the line in the front 
inarch, will, under God, enable this army to beat the enemy, when, and where- 
ever they may be met. Let all ranks study incessantly how to preserve com- 
posure and self-possession in scenes of the greatest peril, for nothing can be 
well done, when the senses are flurried ; and in battle, hurry is the parent of 
confusion and disaster. A soldier must yield strict obedience to the general 
principle of concert in action ; but he should be taught to reflect, that his own 
safety and the cause in which he fights, will be best defended by calmness and 
resolution in the execution of his duty. Could danger be personified, it would 
be frequently seen shrinking from courage, and seeking the staggering blind 
indecision of cowardice. 

JA. WILKINSON. 



Head Quarters, Sackett*s Harbour, District JVo. 9, 
August 26th, 1813. 
Whenever the public service shall require any division or detachment of the 
army to take post near the enemy, it will be the primary duty of the commander 
to guard his position by a strong chain of sentinels, which no person, civil or 
military, shall pass, except at the guards. All strangers and suspicious persons 
found lurking about a position or encampment, are to be stopped and conduct- 
ed to the proper officers for examination. These precautions are enjoined by 
long established usage, and are absolutely necessary, not only to the discipline 
and police of the troops, but to their safety and the interests of the state. They 
must therefore be strictly respected by all persons. 

JA. WILKINSON. 



Head Quarters, Sackett^s Harbour, August 29tk, 1813. 

In all encampments where the guards are once stationed, it becomes the 
duty of officers on post, and also of the officers of the day, to instruct the sen- 
tries individually how to conduct themselves on post ; this being a most essen- 
tial duty, it must not be neglected : a sentry on post, is a sovereign in his 
sphere, and should be taught how to estimate the importance of his station, 
since the safety of the army and of his country is confided to him. 

Major-general Lewis has leave of absence for a few days, and will be suc- 
ceeded in the command by Brigadier-general Brown. 

J.\. WILKINSON. 



APPENDIX. 

No. III. 

ORDER OF 9th OCTOBER. 

Head Quarters, Sackett's Harbour, October 9th, 1813. 
The army is formed into four brigades, and a reserve. The first composed 
of the 5th, 13th, and 12th regiments, under Brigadier-general Boyd ; the se- 
cond of the 6th, 22d, and 15ih regiments, under Brigadier-general Brown ; the 
third of the 9th, 25th, and 16tli regiments, under Brigadier-general Covington ; 
and the fourth of the 11th, 21st, and 14th regiments, under Brigadier-general 
Swartwout. The reserve, under Colonel Macomb, is composed of his own re- 
giment, and the detachments ordered to join him. This corps, the dragoons, 
and rifle corps, will be disposed of as circumstances may render necessary, un- 
der the especial orders of the General. The artillery has been distributed, and 
will be posted by Brigadier-general Porter. In the formation of the brigades, 
all the regiments have not their proper stations, but gentlemen must excuse the 
irregularity, as it was unavoidable, from the disparity in the strength of corps. 
Major Herkimer, with his volunteers, will join Colonel Macomb, and receive 
his orders. 

By order of Major-general Wilkinson. 

J. B. WALBACH, Adjutant-general 



No. IV. 

GENERAL ORDERS PRODUCED BY GENERAL LEWIS. 

On board the Lady of the Lake,